Egypt's Sisi denies role in Tripoli air raid

A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency on July 7, 2014 shows Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi giving a speech in Cairo (AFP Photo/-) (Egyptian Presidency/AFP/File)

Cairo (AFP) - President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday denied reports that the Egyptian air force carried out air strikes in Libya on Islamist militiamen around the capital's airport.

Libyan Islamists have charged that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates were behind a raid around Tripoli airport on Friday night that killed 13 fighters.

"There are no Egyptian aircraft or forces in Libya and no Egyptian aircraft participated in military action inside Libya," the official news agency MENA quoted him as saying.

Fajr Libya, a coalition of Islamist militias, said Saturday it had captured Tripoli's battered international airport from nationalist militiamen.

The announcement came a day after an unidentified warplane raided Islamist positions around the airport, killing 13 fighters, a Fajr Libya spokesman said.

The fall of the airport would be a major defeat for the nationalist fighters from Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, who have held it since the overthrow of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.