GNA PM says strikes in Sirte would have limited duration, no foreign troops presence on the ground.
Michael Hernandez - WASHINGTON (AA) – President Barack Obama has authorized new airstrikes against Daesh in Libya at the request of the government there, the Pentagon confirmed Monday.
Obama authorized the new strikes after recommendations from Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, according to Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook.
The first round of “precision airstrikes” targeted Daesh in its Libyan stronghold of Sirtre, which lies about halfway between Benghazi and Tripoli.
Cook said in a statement that the strikes “are consistent with our approach to combating ISIL by working with capable and motivated local forces”.
Sirtre has been a major battleground between Daesh and forces under Libya’s recently established Government of National Accord, commonly referred to as the GNA.
The head of the Presidential Council of Libya and GNA Prime Minister Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj said in a statement broadcast on Libyan government television that the strikes caused losses in the ranks of Daesh’s structure, without providing details.
The operations “will be during a specified time frame, and will be limited to the city of Sirte,” he said, adding that there would not be any foreign military foreign presence on the ground but if any were needed it would be limited to technical and logistic support.
The Libyan forces have made some gains in routing Daesh around Sirtre, according to Cook.
"The U.S. stands with the international community in supporting the GNA as it strives to restore stability and security to Libya," he said.