US bombing inflicts heavy losses on islamists in Libya
The bombing raid was carried out on Monday following a request by the United Nations-backed Libyan unity government headed by prime minister Fayez Sarraj, who said it had caused IS “heavy losses”.
The move marks a significant increase in US involvement in Libya. Libyan government troops have been successfully battling IS in Sirte since May and had driven them back into a small territory inside the city centre.
There has been increasing alarm caused by IS presence in the Mediterranean port city, the Islamists most strategic base outside of Syria and Iraq, and the strikes represent the first attack jointly coordinated between the US and the Government of National Accord.
The Islamist group began moving into Libya in 2014 taking over control of some 250km along the length of the coast outside Sirte. But it has yet to command popular support across the country.