A Libyan official in the city of Bani Waleed told local media that unknown jets carried out air strikes Sunday against a convoy suspected to be related to “Islamic State” (IS) militias near the city.
The US began strikes against IS in Libya last week. The Pentagon announced it targeted an IS training camp near Sabratha, allegedly involved in two terror attacks in Tunisia last year.
Local authorities said in a statement that the raid targeted a house near Sabratha that was rented by foreigners suspected to be affiliated with IS.
US president Barack Obama previously warned that the US will take serious action in Libya once targets were identified. The UK said it allowed the US to use its base to carry out the raid.
US reports earlier said the White House is reviewing plans to target IS in Libya. Western countries are concerned about the spread of terrorism in Libya since IS began targeting oil facilities.
However Libyan army spokesman Mohamed Al-Hegazi told Daily News Egypt the US did not consult with the Libyan authorities. The Libyan government released a statement condemning the strikes.“Any strikes must only be carried out after consultation with the Libyan army,” Al-Hegazi said.
IS has recently made significant gains in Libya and controls three Libyan cities: Derna, Sirte, and Sabratha. Recent clashes between the Libyan Army of the Tobruk government and IS have played out against the backdrop of Libya’s oil facilities in Al-Sedra and Ras Lanuf, a crucial source of revenue for the political factions vying for control of the country. In January, IS seized the city of Beni Jawad, near Al Sedra and Ras Lanuf.
In his interview with Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi warned of the spread of terrorism in and from Libya. “If Libya falls, it could become a base for terrorism from which will spread to neighbouring countries like Egypt and Algeria, and even to Europe,” he said.
Regarding the possibility of sending troops to Libya, Al-Sisi said Egypt’s strategy is to protect its land: “We will fight terrorism but we don’t interfere in another country’s local affairs”.
Earlier this week, militant forces were compelled to withdraw from several locations in Benghazi and the strategic port of Al-Meraysa Sunday, Libyan armed forces affiliated with the Tobruk parliament said.
The Libyan army said it regained control of the city of Agdabia, 150km away from Benghazi. Over the past few months, IS has taken advantage of the current political unrest in Libya to spread their forces into several cities in the oil-rich country.
Violence in Libya persists as the UN tries to support a political process in order to end the conflict between the two warring parliaments.
The presidential council formed a new national unity government but Tobruk parliament is yet to vote on it.