Sat, Jan 21, 2017 - Page 7 News List

US bombs Islamic State Libyan camps, killing more than 80

NY Times News Service and AP, WASHINGTON

Two US Air Force B2 bombers attacked Islamic State group training camps in Libya overnight, killing more than 80 militants, including some who were involved in plotting terrorist attacks in Europe, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

The attack, which also included strikes by armed reaper drones flying from a base in Sicily, Italy, was a parting shot from former US president Barack Obama at the Islamic State group and one of his final actions as commander in chief.

“We need to strike ISIL everywhere they show up,” former US secretary of defense Ashton Carter told reporters using an acronym for the Islamic State group. “We know that some of the ISIL operatives in Libya were involved in plotting attacks in Europe.”

Islamic State fighters were driven out of Sirte, the group’s coastal stronghold, last year by Libyan fighters backed by US air power. After conducting 495 strikes against truck bombs, heavy guns, tanks and command bunkers in the city, the Pentagon’s Africa Command announced an end to air operations on Dec. 19 last year, but the taking of Sirte did not put an end to Islamic State operations in Libya.

The militant group is believed to have several hundred fighters in the nation, many of them, including fighters who fled Sirte, regrouping at two training camps about 40km southwest of the city, officials said.

In related news, as many as 117 civilians have been killed in drone and other counterterrorism attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere during Obama’s presidency, according to a report released late on Thursday by US intelligence officials.

It was the second public assessment the Obama administration issued in response to mounting pressure for more information about lethal US operations overseas.

Human rights and other groups have criticized the administration, saying it has underestimated civilian casualties. They also are worried that US President Donald Trump will more aggressively conduct drone strikes, which are subject to little oversight from US Congress or the judiciary.

The report by former US National Intelligence director James Clapper said the US conducted 526 counterterrorism strikes, including those by unmanned drones, between January 2009 and last month. It does not mention where the strikes occurred, but the US Department of Defense and the CIA have pursued targets in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. The data did not include strikes in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, which the US considers areas of active hostilities.

Between 2,803 and 3,022 combatants were killed in strikes during Obama’s eight-year presidency, according to the report. Between 64 and 117 non-combatants were killed.

Non-governmental organizations have estimated that hundreds more have been killed.

This story has been viewed 3256 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top