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US Begins Air-Strikes Against ISIS in Libya This Week

After fierce fighting on 28-30 July, the Misratan-led Bunyan Marsus coalition took full control of the Hay Dollar area in Sirte.  Bunyan Marsus forces seized an artillery ammunition cache in the area, and are currently fortifying their positions there. Fighting against ISIS continued in the Qusoor Al Diyafa area near Ouagadougou Centre, ISIS’s stronghold in Sirte. The operation has thus far cost more than 300 Bunyan Marsus lives, with another 1,500 injured.

On 1 August, Government of National Accord Prime Minister Fayez Serraj made a televised speech announcing the beginning of US airstrikes against ISIS in Sirte, following a formal request by the Presidential Council.  The request was based on a 25 July recommendation by the Bunyan Marsus operations room to call for US airstrikes against identified ISIS targets in the city.IMG_6840

On 25 July, the Bunyan Marsus operations room officially recommended the Presidential Council call for US Airstrikes on ISIS targets inside Sirte. On 1 August, Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez Serraj made a televised speech announcing the beginning of US airstrikes upon a formal request by the Presidential Council, and Libya’s joining of the international anti-ISIS coalition. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook confirmed that US warplanes launched a new round of airstrikes against ISIS in Sirte at the request of the GNA. Pentagon officials said the strikes were conducted by a combination of manned and unmanned aircraft, and that strikes will continue to help enable the GNA-aligned forces to make a decisive and strategic advance. The direct involvement of the US on behalf of the GNA may have a direct impact on current political dynamics on the ground, and will likely raise tensions between GNA supporters and anti-GNA hardliners and Islamists in Tripoli.

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