Since late April, the Islamic State has claimed a string of operations targeting elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The group’s spokesman, Abu al-Hasan al-Muhajir, threatened Iraq’s upcoming election on May 12 and the jihadists are carrying out operations accordingly.
The US military announced that it killed Musa Abu Dawud, a high-ranking al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb leader in Libya, in an airstrike last weekend. Dawud is an established jihadist who has been in the fight with the GSPC and AIQM for at least three decades.
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.