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Algeria considering US, France request to 'facilitate' Libya military strikes

Algeria has reportedly been asked to open its airspace to military craft transporting troops to carry out reconnaissance missions in Libya
Protesters in Tripoli rally in support of Libya Dawn and against talk of intervention in the country (AFP)

Algeria is reportedly studying requests by the US and France to “facilitate” military operations against militant groups in neighbouring Libya, an Algerian source on Tuesday.

“The US and France have both asked Algeria to open its airspace to surveillance planes and other military planes transferring commando units for a reconnaissance mission in parts of Libya,” the source, requesting anonymity, told Anadolu Agency.

He added that the US and France have made the same request of “other states near Libya.”

The Algerian government has yet to officially respond to the request.

The French language Tout Sur l’Algerie website reported that France’s Military Chief of Staff General Pierre de Villiers will visit Algeria on Saturday.

On Tuesday, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called on the international community to take decisive action in Libya, which he said was becoming a “hub for terrorist groups”.

Egypt, which also shares a border with Libya, has recently denied plans for military intervention in Libya to halt rising violence in the Arab country.

Cairo was implicated in mysterious air strikes in Tripoli, which the New York Times said were carried out by the UAE. Abu Dhabi reportedly launched the bombing raids from an Egyptian army base in Siwa, near the Libyan border, and thought they would circumvent the American radars over North Africa.

The UAE has publicly urged international intervention in Libya and several other regional countries to combat what it describes as the rise of “violent extremism.”

Libya has been plagued by heavy fighting between a loosely organised army and militias that have clung to their weapons following a bloody uprising in 2011 that ended a four decade long regime run by Muammar Gaddafi.

Tripoli has been the scene of fierce clashes between warring militias over control of several vital facilities in the city.

Benghazi, the country’s second largest city, has also turned into a battlefield between troops loyal to renegade Gaddafi-era General Khalifa Haftar and militias including Ansar al-Sharia.