The pattern of operations in 2017 in what the Obama administration used to call areas outside of active hostilities indicates that the US will continue the reinvigorated air campaign in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya in the coming year.
The United States conducted two strikes against the Islamic State in central Libya, its southernmost strikes in the Libyan air campaign.
US Africa Command launched airstrikes against the Islamic State in Libya for the first time in eight months. AFRICOM also revealed to FDD’s Long War Journal that an estimated 800 to 900 Islamic State fighters were killed during Operation Odyssey Lightning’s air campaign in Sirte last year.
The US carried out six airstrikes against an Islamic State camp “approximately 150 miles southeast of Sirte” on Sept. 22, according to US Africa Command. The bombings reportedly killed 17 jihadists and destroyed three vehicles.
Jihadists loyal to the Islamic State overran a checkpoint manned by the Libyan National Army (LNA) yesterday. A spokesman for the LNA confirmed that 11 victims were beheaded.
The State Department’s newly released Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 says that “many members” of the Islamic State’s Libyan branch fanned out across the country after the battle for Sirte last year. Sirte had served as the group’s stronghold inside Libya.
The Department of Justice announced today that Aaron Travis Daniels pleaded guilty terror-related charges after trying to join the Islamic State in Libya last November. Daniels had been in contact with an Islamic State “external attack planner” who encouraged him emigrate to North Africa for jihad, according to the DOJ.
British officials say they are still investigating a possible “wider conspiracy” behind the Manchester Arena bombing on May 22. Meanwhile, British interior minister Amber Rudd told BBC News that security services are “looking at 500 different plots” with 3,000 possible terrorists on the “top list” and 20,000 “underneath that.”