Updated | ISIS commander linked to Bardo Museum attacks targeted by US airstrikes

‘We will go after ISIL whenever it is necessary, using the full range of tools at our disposal’ – Pentagon

Photo: Twitter
Photo: Twitter

US warplanes hit an Islamic State camp in the Libyan city of Sabratha early on Friday,  killing as many as 40 people.

The Pentagon confirmed that the U.S. military conducted an airstrike in Libya targeting an ISIL training camp near Sabratha and Noureddine Chouchane, a.k.a. "Sabir," a Tunisian national who was an ISIL senior facilitator in Libya associated with the training camp.   

In May 2015, Tunisian authorities named Chouchane as a suspect in the March 18, 2015, deadly attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis.  He facilitated the movement of potential ISIL-affiliated foreign fighters from Tunisia to Libya and onward to other countries. 

“Destruction of the camp and Chouchane's removal will eliminate an experienced facilitator and is expected to have an immediate impact on ISIL's ability to facilitate its activities in Libya, including recruiting new ISIL members, establishing bases in Libya, and potentially planning external attacks on U.S. interests in the region,” the Pentagon said.

“We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate.

“This strike demonstrates we will go after ISIL whenever it is necessary, using the full range of tools at our disposal.”

The mayor of Sabratha, Hussein al-Thwadi, told Reuters that the planes struck at 3:30am local time, hitting a building in the Qasr Talil district, where foreign workers were living. He said 41 people were killed and six others wounded.

Intelligence officials are working to determine whether Noureddine Chouchane, a major Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) facilitator, was actually killed in the strike.

Sky News' Foreign Affairs Editor Sam Kiley said President Barack Obama has been under pressure from US intelligence organisations to take a more proactive role against the rise of IS in Libya.

Last November the US said it carried out an airstrike on the eastern port city of Derna to target Abu Nabil, an Iraqi commander in Islamic State.

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