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Libyan raids herald bolder Arab action as U.S. wavers

Published on Aug 27, 2014 5:16 AM

DUBAI (Reuters) - Air strikes by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates on Libyan Islamists - affirmed by Washington on Tuesday despite denials from Cairo and the Gulf state - would mark an escalation of a regional struggle over the future of the Arab world.

Arab responsibility for the attacks would add to a picture of the West's regional allies acting increasingly independently in the absence of decisive U.S. involvement, seeking security goals with which Washington might not agree.

The Pentagon and State Department said on Tuesday for the first time that the air strikes against Islamist fighters in Tripoli were carried out by Egypt and the UAE, which has one of the most powerful air forces in the Middle East.

"We understand there were air strikes undertaken in recent days by the UAE and Egypt" in Libya, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

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