Libyan flights using Egypt airspace to make security stop in eastern Libya

24 February 2015 (Last Updated February 24th, 2015 18:30)

Egypt has required Libyan airliners flying through its airspace to make a transit stop in eastern Libya to undergo security checks.

Egypt has required Libyan airliners flying through its airspace to make a transit stop in eastern Libya to undergo security checks.

The country said that the planes flying within Libya or to Jordan and Turkey via Egypt air space need to undergo a security check at an airport in eastern Libya.

With this move, Egypt intends to filter Islamist militants in the country and simultaneously support the internationally recognised Libyan Government, which is now restricted to the eastern part of the country by the Islamic State militants, reported Reuters.

"The airspace was closed for security reasons, to stop terrorists and weapons reaching Libya."

Egypt has banned people from travelling to Libya and closed its airspace to western part of country, which is under the control of the IS.

Last week, the Egyptian air force attacked suspected militant positions in the city of Derna with airstrikes after IS released a video showing the execution of 21 Egyptian Copts.

The IS retaliated by firing six missiles at the Labraq Airport in eastern Libya.

Earlier this month, Morocco suspended all flights to Libya citing security concerns.

Libya's Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni was quoted by Reuters as saying that Egypt had closed its airspace to planes serving western Libyan airports so that his government, which is active in the eastern region, carry out departure and passport procedures.

"The airspace was closed for security reasons, to stop terrorists and weapons reaching Libya," al-Thinni said.

Libya has been embroiled in a conflict since May last year, which escalated in July when Islamists reacted to the electoral defeat of Islamist politicians and launched 'Operation Libya Dawn' to seize Tripoli International Airport.

The airport was captured on 23 August after 41 days.

The country is currently facing political unrest and is being run by rival governments and parliaments.