US warplanes hit Islamic State militants in Western Libya on Friday. The strike was targeting a suspect linked to two attacks last year in Tunisia. The air strike left as many as 43 people dead that included suspected ISIS militants in Sabratha.
According to the Pentagon Spokesman Peter Cook, the military is yet to determine if the target, Noureddine Chouchane, was killed in the air strike. Chouchane is a Tunisian, who was suspected for the massacre in the Sousse beach that killed more than 30 British nationals.
“I welcome this that has taken out a Daesh [ISIS] training camp being used to train terrorists carry out attacks,” said British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon. “I was satisfied that its destruction makes us all safer, and I personally authorized the US use of our bases.”
Cook stressed on the issue that there were other training camps in Libya, and the military would be ready to take action whenever there was an opportunity. There has been a deployment of American and British Special Forces in recent weeks, along with drones and deep reconnaissance by American, British and French warplanes, says The Guardian.
Other ISIS bases were bombed in towns of Sirte and Derna in Eastern Libya, while Human Rights Watch said that a hospital was destructed during the Derna raids. The civil war between the elected government of Tobruk and a rival administration in Tripoli has made ISIS grow out of proportions, thus spreading across the country. This has made world leaders anxious, according to SBS News.
Sabratha became a home to ISIS and, in recent times, the militants are gaining strength around the town while initiating attacks on local militias on the nearby coastal highway of Surman.
The Tobruk Government rejected the UN’s Unity Government plan which made the western military powers worry over the delay that might give ISIS the chance to capture and destroy Libya’s vital oil ports. The militant group had already destroyed Libya’s largest oil refinery, Ras Lanuf, setting it up in flames.