Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has said all measures – including international troops on the ground – should be considered to deal with the threat of fighters pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Libya.
Ahead of an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council in New York on Wednesday, Shoukry told Al Jazeera’s Diplomatic Editor James Bays that Egypt’s proposals to the UN were initially limited to expanded support for the UN-recognised government in Tobruk.
Asked whether the prospect of international “boots on the ground” should be under consideration, Shoukry told our correspondent: “I think all measures should be under consideration and it is up to the international community to define what is the best course of action to deal with this threat.”
“I will not prejudge or jump to any conclusions. It is up to us to forge a collective understanding and commitment,” he added.
“That should not exclude any form of support to the legitimate government in Tobruk.”
On Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said “there is no choice” but to create a global coalition to confront Libya’s rival militias, in an interview with France’s Europe 1 radio.
The European Union has said it would meet with Egyptian and US governments officials this week, but said it saw no role in any military intervention for now.
Egypt’s calls for military interventions came after fighters pledging allegiance to ISIL released a video on Sunday purporting to show the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians.
Egypt’s military responded on Monday when it carried out air raids against what is claimed were ISIL camps, training sites and weapons storage areas in Libya’s northeast.
At least seven civilians were reported killed in the strikes.
Libya has been gripped by chaos since longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed more than three years ago.
The North African country has failed to build up a national army and efficient state institutions since the end of Gaddafi’s one-man rule, and is now effectively dominated by former rebel brigades who disagree over how to govern Libya and share its oil wealth.
The country has two rival governments and parliaments since a group called Libya Dawn seized the capital in August, and set up its own government and parliament.
The country’s three main cities, Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata, are largely controlled by militias aligned with Libya Dawn, and supportive of Omar al-Hassi, the head of Libya’s legally installed government.
Amid the chaos, fighters pledging allegiance to ISIL have emerged in the cities of Derna and Sirte.
According to the UN at least 400,000 people have been displaced by fighting across Libya, with as many as 83,000 people living in settlements, schools and abandoned buildings.