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France warns IS fighters could flee Libya to Tunisia, Egypt

Pro-GNA forces launched a new attack on Saturday against IS in Sirte

AFP/PTI  |  Paris 

Representational image
Representational image

Islamic State group fighters could flee to Egypt or Tunisia after being flushed from their former Libyan stronghold of Sirte, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned today.

"We should begin to look seriously at the question of the spread of the terrorists once Sirte... (is) emptied of the terrorists," Le Drian told a defence conference in Paris.

"They don't disappear.

There's a new risk that appears," he said, adding: "Indirectly this will pose new risks for Tunisia and Egypt."

He said it was a "shame, perhaps political reasons prevent it, that all the neighbouring states of Libya don't meet" over the issue.

Backed by weeks of US air strikes, forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) have recaptured nearly all of what had been the jihadists' main stronghold in north Africa.

Pro-GNA forces launched a new attack on Saturday against IS in Sirte, saying yesterday it could take several days to gain full control of the city.

First Published: Tue, September 06 2016. 00:13 IST