US Airstrikes Kill ISIS Fighters Near Sirte

Jan 24, 2017 | International actors

On 19 January, American B-2 stealth bombers destroyed two ISIS camps approximately 44 km south-west of Sirte, dropping more than 100 precision-guided bombs on the targets. The US forces then reportedly ‘cleaned up’ with drone hellfire missiles. Secretary of Defence Ash Carter said that initial estimates indicated the airstrikes killed more than 80 ISIS militants. The Government of National Accord (GNA) announced airstrikes were coordinated with the US government and AFRICOM.

On 21 January, a VBIED exploded in Tripoli’s Dahra area, just opposite the Ministry of Planning building. Local sources say that the vehicle had attempted to park just opposite the Italian embassy when it was spotted and chased away by local security. It exploded in the road. Red Crescent staff said two charred bodies were retrieved from the vehicle and taken for forensics. It is not known who is responsible for the attack, however it is a serious security blow for the GNA barely a week after the reopening of the Italian embassy and normalisation of consular affairs.

On 17 January, British Ambassador Peter Millet flew to Tubruk to meet with the House of Representatives (HoR) President Agilah Saleh and other HoR members who oppose the current GNA in Tubruk. Italy has also attempted to send aid packages to Khalifa Haftar’s forces in eastern Libya. However, this gesture was reportedly informally refused by the Libyan National Army (LNA) who said that Italy must withdraw all its forces currently on the ground in Libya before any aid would be accepted. Italy has been providing medical services and some military support to the GNA-aligned Misratan coalition fighting against Islamic State (ISIS) in Sirte, however the LNA is concerned that Misrata will use this support to fight the LNA. Before the inauguration, Italian newspaper Le Stampa reported that the Trump administration had informed Italian officials that the US may not choose to support Fayez al-Serraj as the Prime Minister of the UN-backed GNA.