U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) on Friday said an airstrike targeting southwestern Libya on Thursday killed 17 Islamic State fighters, reported Time. It is the third U.S. strike this month against the terror group in the southwestern Libyan town of Murzuq.
On Tuesday, an airstrike killed 11 IS militants, while another strike launched last week killed eight, according to AFRICOM.
U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Heidi Berg, AFRICOM’s director of intelligence, said the air strikes were carried out in coordination with the Libyan Government of National Accord. He said Washington will continue to pursue ISIS-Libya and other terrorists in the region, denying them a safe haven to coordinate and plan operations in Libya.
“This ongoing campaign against ISIS-Libya demonstrates that U.S. Africa Command persistently targets terrorist networks that seek to harm innocent Libyans,” said Berg.
In a statement, U.S. Africa Command said it continue to offer support for diplomatic efforts to stabilize Libya’s political situation in order to maintain a common focus on disrupting terrorist organizations that threaten regional stability.
Notably, the deteriorating security situation in Libya has allowed Islamic State militants to expand their presence in ungoverned spaces of the desert in the country’s south.
Libya is currently going through a war like situation as Eastern-based forces led by Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive against the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj to capture Tripoli in April. The fighting has already killed at least 1,093 people, wounded 5,752, and displaced some 120,000 others.
After repeatedly rejecting UN calls for talks, Field Marshal Haftar has finally announced his willingness to open dialogue.
“When all is said and done, we need dialogue and we need to sit down”, Field Marshal Hafar said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Haftar’s proposal for an open dialogue came after Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj called Haftar a “war criminal” and ruled out peace talks during a speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.