US military again strikes Islamic State in Libya

The US military launched its second airstrike against the Islamic state near the town of Murzuq in the past week. Eleven Islamic State fighters were reportedly killed in yesterday’s operation.

“This airstrike was conducted to eliminate ISIS [Islamic State] terrorists and deny them the ability to conduct attacks on the Libyan people,” Major General William Gayler, the director of operations for US Africa Command was quoted in AFRICOM’s press release.

AFRICOM disclosed few details about the strike. The approximate location, the date, and the number of fighters was reported, as well as the fact that AFRICOM did not believe civilians were killed.

Like the previous strike in Murzuq, which took place on Sept. 19 and killed eight fighters, it is likely that yesterday’s operation targeted a fixed location, such as a training camp, a military encampment, a logistics or communications node, a meeting site, or perhaps a convoy of fighters. Airstrikes that target vehicles as they are moving usually result in far fewer casualties. No senior Islamic State leaders or operatives have been reported killed in either the Sept. 19 or Sept. 24 attacks.

The two attacks against the Islamic State in Murzuq came after a more than year-long hiatus of strikes against the group. The relatively large number of Islamic State fighters killed in the two airstrikes seems to indicate that the terror organization is regrouping in the area.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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