Smoke rises following an air strike as Libyan forces allied with the U.N.-backed government gather after they captured a new area from Islamic State militants in Sirte, Libya, October 16, 2016. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny
WASHINGTON - 22 November 2017: The U.S. military said on Tuesday that it had conducted two air strikes against Islamic States militants in Libya in the past few days.
In a statement, U.S. Africa Command said one strike was carried out on Friday and another one on Sunday. It said both strikes were carried out near the city of Fuqaha, but did not say how many militants had been killed.
The statement said the strikes were carried out in coordination with Libya’s Government of National Accord.
Islamic State took over Sirte in early 2015, turning it into its most important base outside the Middle East and attracting large numbers of foreign fighters to the city. The group imposed its hard-line rule on residents and extended its control along about 155 miles (250 km) of Libya’s Mediterranean coastline.
But it struggled to keep a footing elsewhere in Libya and was forced out of Sirte by last December after a six-month campaign led by brigades from the western city of Misrata and backed by U.S. air strikes.
Islamic State militants have shifted to desert valleys and inland hills southeast of Tripoli as they seek to exploit Libya’s political divisions after their defeat in Sirte.