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Egypt's Sisi meets Libyan commander Haftar in Cairo - presidency spokesman - Politics - Egypt

Egypt's Sisi meets Libyan commander Haftar in Cairo - presidency spokesman - Politics - Egypt

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi met Sunday with Libyan commander Halifa Haftar, whose forces are fighting for control of the capital Tripoli, state media reported.

On April 4, Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA) announced that he was launching a military campaign to take over Tripoli to the surprise of the Tripoli-based and United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

A statement from Sisi's office did not mention Haftar's offensive directly but "confirmed Egypt's support for efforts to combat terrorism and extremist groups and militias in order to achieve security and stability for the Libyan citizen".

Observers fear a civil conflict matching the 2011 rebellion that led to the ouster and death of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Images released by the palace showed a seated Mr Sisi flanked by Gen Haftar and the head of Egypt's intelligence Abbas Kamel in the reception hall of the presidential palace in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis.

Egypt has provided funding and arms to his Libyan National Army, seeing him as a bulwark against Islamist militants.

"The forces of the Libyan army shot down an enemy plane that was preparing to conduct air raids in the Wadi al-Rabie area", Government of National Accord spokesman Mohamed Gnounou told AFP.

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The World Health Organization said 121 people have been killed in the fighting and another 561 have been wounded.

The UN said on Sunday that a school was bombed in Ain Zara southwest of Tripoli, without saying who was responsible.

The fighting killed and injured hundreds of people, and forced thousands of civilians to flee their homes.

LNA forces have captured most of eastern Syria from Islamist groups and launched an offensive on Tripoli, which is held by a number of militias and the base of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj's UN-backed government.

The "life goes on" attitude of some overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Tripoli may soon be in peril with the further escalation of clashes between factions in Libya, following reports that foreign governments will soon be sending support for military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Pro-government forces said they were "searching for the pilot", he added.

No other details about the meeting were immediately available.