US warplanes carried out a series of airstrikes on an ISIS base in western Libya, targeting a leader linked to last year’s beach massacre in Tunisia.
The air strikes early on Friday morning came just hours after it was reported that the Obama administration had planned to veto a proposal to bomb ISIS targets in Libya.
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Noureddine Chouchane, the operative suspected of being behind two Tunisia attacks last year, was most likely killed in the strikes, according to the Pentagon.
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According to the New York Times: The airstrikes, on a camp outside Sabratha, about 50 miles west of Tripoli, killed at least 30 Islamic State recruits at the site, many of whom were believed to be from Tunisia, according to a Western official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss military operations.
The mayor of Sabratha, Hussain al-Dawadi, put the death toll at 41, and he said that six others had been wounded. He said the airstrikes occurred around 3:30 a.m.
Michael Fallon the British defence secretary confirmed that the operation had made use of British bases.
“I welcome this strike that has taken out a Daesh [Isis] training camp being used to train terrorists to carry out attacks,” he said. “I was satisfied that its destruction makes us all safer, and I personally authorised the US use of our bases.”
US and British special forces have been deployed in Libya in recent weeks, with drones and intense reconnaissance by British, French and American warplanes.
Approximately 6,000 European and US soldiers, including 1,000 British troops, will be involved in a number of offensives set up to ‘halt the advance of ISIS’.