U.S. backs off statement that Egypt, UAE were behind Libya air strikes

WASHINGTON Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department on Tuesday backed off an earlier statement that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates were behind air strikes on Islamist militants in Libya.

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

At the Pentagon, spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby also said the two countries were believed to be involved in the strikes but declined to give details.

However, late on Tuesday the State Department issued a statement saying the comment on Libya was "intended to refer to countries reportedly involved, not speak for them."

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Ken Wills)

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