Libya officials: French special forces on the ground fighting Daesh

Published February 25th, 2016 - 09:30 GMT
A fighter loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government walks along damaged a street in Benghazi after seizing the center of the city on Feb. 23, 2016 from Daesh militants. (AFP/Abdullah Doma)
A fighter loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government walks along damaged a street in Benghazi after seizing the center of the city on Feb. 23, 2016 from Daesh militants. (AFP/Abdullah Doma)

Two Libyan military officials told the Associated Press on Wednesday that French special forces have been on the ground in Libya fighting Daesh for two months.

The 15 special forces in the French combat squad have carried out four operations against Daesh in Benghazi, working with Libyan troops to locate Daesh positions, plan and carry out attacks. The French special forces have also been training Libyan troops, the military sources said.

In addition, a French intelligence unit is said to be working alongside British and American units to collect information about Daesh.

The LIbyan military officials spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The French defense ministry declined to comment, citing a policy that forbids commenting on special forces' activities.

Last week, the US carried out airstrikes against Daesh in the western city of Sabratha, killing dozens of militants as well as two Serbian hostages. Washington is counting on the UK, France, and Italy to join the international coalition against Daesh, which has gained ground in Libya.

The city of Sabratha has become the latest center of power for Libya's Daesh affiliate.

Last year the United Nations brokered a deal in a bid to unite the country's various factions vying for control of territory and Libya's oil resources. Libya remains divided by two governments, the internationally-supported parliament based in Tobruk, and its rival based in Tripoli, backed by Islamist militias.

Libya has endured five years of chaos since the ouster of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011, allowing Daesh and other militant groups to take control.


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