US Increases Libyan Airstrikes While Egypt Foils ISIS Infiltration Attempt

US Increases Libyan Airstrikes While Egypt Foils ISIS Infiltration Attempt

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ISIS IN ACTION

On 11 March, the Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesperson announced that the LNA’s Sirte Operations Room had killed three ISIS leaders fleeing Derna. The spokesperson added that ISIS elements were reported to be moving in the areas south of Sirte, Bani Walid, and Sidra.

On 8 March, a suicide vehicle-borne improved explosive device (SVBIED) attacked a checkpoint, Gate 60, controlled by the LNA’s 152 infantry brigade south-east of Ajdabiya. Two Sudanese civilians and one LNA fighter were reportedly wounded. On 10 March, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

WESTERN RESPONSE

On 8 March, a spokesman for the U.S. African Command (AFRICOM), Major Karl J. Wiest, stated that an additional four airstrikes — one on 29 September 100 miles south of Sirte, one on 9 October 250 miles south of Sirte, one on 18 October near Wadi al-Shatti, and one on 23 January near Fuqaha — had been carried out against IS fighters over the last 14 months. This raises the total number of U.S. airstrikes on ISIS fighters in Libya to eight over that time period from the previously released four. The majority of the airstrikes are undertaken by armed MQ-9 Reaper drones. On 6 March, U.S. General Thomas D. Waldhauser, the head of AFRICOM, stated in a congressional testimony that “we are heavily involved in the counterterrorism piece” in Libya.

On 11 March, the Egyptian army announced it had foiled another attempt to “infiltrate” its western border with Libya after reportedly destroying 5 vehicles loaded with arms and ammunition on the Libyan border. This is the latest in a series of similar claims, where the Egyptian army said they destroyed convoys of vehicles carrying weapons and fighters into western Egypt. However, as with the previous reports, no details were given about death toll or who the alleged perpetrators were thought to be.

Libya-Analysis is the most read independent English-language blog on Libyan affairs. It is run by Jason Pack, founder of EyeOnISISinLibya.com and researcher of World History at Cambridge University

This article was republished with explicit permission from the author.