French special ops join the fight against ISIL in Libya
Sources in Libya say French special forces are among those working againstIslamic State in the country. A small French detachment has been operating from Benghazi’s Benina airport, the sources have reported, assisting forces of the internationally backed Libyan authorities in Tobruk.Sniper teams have been very effective against ISIL leaders in Libya and it is possible they are from such special ops units. This sounds like a special ops team that is acting in an advisory role to government fighters.
According to Le Monde, special forces units, alongside France’s external security directorate, the DGSE, have been in Libya for several months, and coordinated the November US strike on Derna which killed the most senior Isis leader in the country, Iraqi Abu Nabil al-Anbari. The Pentagon has confirmed that US forces were deployed there in January.
At foreign affairs select committee hearings in London earlier this month, UK Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood declined to comment on British special forces operations, but said the RAF was flying missions over the country in preparation for possible attacks on Isis. Italy announced on Monday that it would allow armed US drones to strike Libyan targets from bases in Sicily.
Isis fighters stormed the centre of the coastal town of Sabratha on Tuesday, four days after 41 of their number were killed in a US bombing raid there, and battled through the night with local militias. The police station was overrun, and when it was recaptured militia forces found the bodies of 11 beheaded police officers.
Fighting continued at daybreak after battles around Sabratha’s hospital and football stadium, with Isis fighters redeploying to a western suburb of the city, which lies 30 miles from Tripoli.