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US Airstrikes Kill 17 ISIS Militants in Libya | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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US strike in Sabratha, Libya (File photo/Reuters)

Cairo – US Africa Command (Africom) said in a statement that strikes on Friday targeted an ISIS camp southeast of Sirte, killing 17 ISIS militants and destroying three of their vehicles.

However, Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) didn’t comment on the statement.

The command headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, issued the statement saying that in coordination with GNA and aligned forces, US forces conducted six precision airstrikes in Libya against an ISIS camp on Friday, September 22, killing 17 ISIS militants and destroying three vehicles.

The statement explained that the camp was located approximately 150 miles southeast of Sirte and was used by ISIS to move fighters in and out of the country stockpile weapons and equipment; and to plot and conduct attacks.

“ISIS and al-Qaeda have taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Libya to establish sanctuaries for plotting, inspiring and directing terror attacks,” the statement said.

Africom stated that while Libya has made considerable progress against ISIS, most notable by dislodging ISIS fighters from Sirte last year, the terrorists have tried to take advantage of political instability there to create safe havens in parts of the country.

The statement justified the attack claiming that had the issue been left unaddressed, it would have allowed for ISIS to plan attacks against the US, its allies and its interests around the world.

This is the first US strike in Libya since President Donald Trump took office in January.

The US’ last-known air raid in Libya was few days before the end of Barack Obama’s term on camps outside Sirte killing more than 80 ISIS militants, according to the Pentagon.

ISIS moved into areas southeast Tripoli exploiting the chaotic situation in Libya where two governments compete for gaining authority.

Meanwhile, Defense Ministry of Sarraj’s government called for a ceasefire in Sabratha and declared total rejection of the ongoing clashes.

The ministry issued a statement denying the reports saying it had issued orders to any party to begin the fight. It called for an immediate cease-fire and termination of all military operations in the city to put an end to bloodshed and destruction.

The ministry warned that any party that doesn’t abide by its orders to immediately and completely cease fire will be legally and morally responsible.