The United States conducted six airstrikes on an ISIS camp on Friday that killed 17 terrorists and destroyed three vehicles. The US Africa Command said in a statement that the strikes targeted an ISIS site about 240 km (170 miles) southeast of Sirte, once a stronghold of ISIS in the country.
“The camp was used by ISIS to move fighters in and out of the country; stockpile weapons and equipment; and to plot and conduct attacks,” AFRICOM said.
“ISIS and al-Qaeda have taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Libya to establish sanctuaries for plotting, inspiring and directing terror attacks,” it said, using another acronym for ISIL.
The strikes were carried out in coordination with Libya’s Government of National Accord, it added.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the air raids were carried out by armed drones.
After the fall of the Gadhafi regime in 2011, ISIS took advantage of a power vacuum and moved into Sirte in 2015 and imposed their strict regime in the city. The used that area as one of their largest bases to bring in foreign fighters and according to AFRICOM, controlled about 250 km of the Mediterranean coastline.
But they were forced out by a combination of Libyan troops and US airstrikes and have had to move their operations out into the desert. The political situation in Tripoli is still fluid with three competing factions vying for power.
However, as this shows, the Trump administration, while not choosing to get involved on the ground in Libya in a large way, has not forgotten about ISIS and will continue to target the terrorist group when the opportunity arises.
This was the first airstrike in Libya against ISIS since President Trump took office, but probably won’t be the last.
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