On the morning of May 16, the forces of Khalifa Hifter, a former Libyan army general, began a military operation dubbed “Libya’s Dignity” against what he described as “terrorist” groups in Benghazi. The operation later moved to the capital, Tripoli, and has left dozens dead and hundreds wounded.

The current turmoil in Libya is directly affecting its eastern neighbor, Egypt. The two countries are linked by a shared land border stretching nearly 1,200 kilometers (745 miles), besides the presence of thousands of Egyptians living and working in various Libyan cities.

Libya’s border with Egypt

On May 20, the Egyptian authorities decided to close the Egyptian-Libyan border. This decision bans Egyptians from traveling to Libya, and forbids Libyans from entering Egypt until the security situation becomes stable. Maj. Gen. Abdel Moneim Saeed, the former head of operations for the Egyptian armed forces, told Al-Monitor that closing the border was an inevitable step. He noted that the border was closed to protect Egypt from arms smuggling operations to and from Libya, especially in light of the security vacuum in Libya and the inability of the Libyan side to control these smuggling operations. […]