Brigadier Ahmed Abu Shahma, the military governor of the city of Sirte in southwestern Libya, told Asharq Al-Awsat that sudden air strikes carried out by US warplanes at dawn yesterday against ISIS sites in the city were implemented at the request of Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous forces and information provided by them. The forces are loyal to the government of national accord that is led by Fayez Al-Sarraj and supported by a UN mission.
During a telephone conversation with Asharq Al-Awsat, Abu Shahma said that military operations in the city to eradicate remnants of ISIS have not stopped. Meanwhile, the spokesman for Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous’ operations room Brigadier General Mohammad Al-Gusri said that the US airstrikes took place in coordination with his forces and that they had prior knowledge of the strikes.
Al-Gusri declined to identify the place from which the American military aircraft launched the latest air strikes but said that these raids resulted in at least 80 people being killed.
A senior US official said that the United States bombed two camps near Sirte belonging to ISIS using B-2 bombers which led to dozens of ISIS fighters being killed. He added that the extremists “were seen directly before the strikes wearing tactical vests, carrying mortars and standing in tactical formations”. Two American defence officials said that the B-2 bombers carried out air raids on ISIS camps 45km southwest of Sirte in cooperation with Al-Sarraj’s government.
On his part, the outgoing US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter said that more than 80 ISIS militants were killed in a US air strike on two ISIS camps in Libya and added that this number is based on initial reports that were released after the attacks took place last night near the Libyan city Sirte.