ISIS has expanded so rapidly and maliciously into the shores of North Africa that the Libyan government has requested that the United States conduct airstrikes on the terrorist organization. The United States happily obliged to bomb the Daesh terrorists and on Monday airstrikes were carried out on Islamic State’s stronghold of Sirte in Libya.
“At the request of the Libyan Government of National Accord, the United States military conducted precision air strikes against ISIL targets in Sirte, Libya, to support GNA-affiliated force,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said. He did not give a timeline for the bombing, only stating that it “will continue.” A U.S. Defense official said the new airstrikes on ISIS in Sirte will last “as long as needed” to capture Sirte and “decapitate” ISIS in Libya.”
“GNA-aligned forces have had success in recapturing territory from ISIL thus far around Sirte, and additional U.S. strikes will continue to target ISIL in Sirte in order to enable the GNA to make a decisive, strategic advance,” Cook said.
“The U.S. stands with the international community in supporting the GNA as it strives to restore stability and security to Libya,” said Cook. “These actions and those we have taken previously will help deny ISIL a safe haven in Libya from which it could attack the United States and our allies.”
The airstrikes are to be performed by manned and unmanned aircraft.
President Barack Obama authorized the airstrikes at the recommendation of Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
“The President’s been clear that he will deny any safe haven for groups like ISIL or any group that tries to do us harm,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. “The strikes you’ve seen are consistent with that approach.”
First reports on the actual attacks were presented by Libya’s unity prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, during a televised speech. “The first American air strikes on precise positions of the Daesh [IS] organization were carried out today, causing heavy losses.”
No officials from Libya or the U.S. have given any details on the “heavy losses” that Islamic State suffered from the airstrikes.
“This has allowed our forces on the ground to take control of strategic positions,” the prime minister said, adding that the American involvement would be “limited in time and will not go beyond Sirte and its suburbs.”
Sarraj said that no foreign troops would be deployed in Libya.
However, a New York Times article states that special forces from the U.S. and U.K. have been working to wipe out ISIL in Libya.
Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in January that the United States planned to take “decisive military action” against the Islamic State in Libya. Since then, United States and British special operations teams have been conducting clandestine reconnaissance missions in Libya to identify militant leaders and map out their networks.
The United Nations has said that more than 90,000 people have fled Sirte (two-thirds of the city’s population) since Libya has started an offensive to take back the metropolis. There is said to be as many as 6,500 ISIS militants operating in Libya at the moment.
In February 2011, a civil war began and ravaged Libya. By August of 2011, rebels had forcefully removed dictator Muammar Gaddafi from power. The end of Gaddafi’s harsh militant reign opened up a power vacuum that saw numerous tribal factions attempting to seize power and sent the country into disarray. The lack of leadership also allowed radical Islamist groups to infiltrate the country, including ISIS. Daesh was able to take over the city of Derna in 2014 and Sirte in 2015.
The United States wants to do everything in their power to destroy ISIS, but first they must contain Daesh and foil their dreams of a multi-nation caliphate that could spread their cancerous ideology.