Western powers make plans to hit Islamic State in Libya, report says

British, French and US military personnel have travelled to Libya to identify potential targets for airstrikes against Islamic States forces, the Sunday Times reported.

Six British air force officers joined intelligence officers, diplomats and US and French military personnel on a reconnaissance mission near the coastal city of Tobruk to compile a list of "potential targets for possible British and coalition airstrikes," the newspaper said.

"The targeting teams want to find out where the friendly militia fighters are so that any coalition strikes against ISIS (Islamic State) don't hit them by accident," it quoted a "British military source" as saying.

Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti told Italian media last week that her country was considering joining the United States, Britain and France in military intervention to stabilize Libya.

Pinotti told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that Western powers would intervene only if requested to do so by Libyan authorities.

Libya has been in chaos since the NATO-backed ouster of Moamer Gaddafi in 2011, and Islamic State extremists have made inroads there. In December, the UN brokered a deal for a national unity government, but its implementation is at risk.

The Times said plans for military action against Islamic State in Libya had been "stepped up amid fears that the terrorist group, which controls a long stretch of coastline around the city of Sirte, is preparing to shift its headquarters from Syria to north Africa and threaten the Mediterranean." 

Last update: Sun, 31/01/2016 - 14:09

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