The Government of General Accord (GNA) -known as the UN-backed government-announced the starting of US airstrikes against the Islamic State in Sirte.
Fayez al-Serraj, who heads the Western-backed unity government, said in a video statement that he had requested air support from a coalition of nations led by the United States.
In response, U.S. warplanes have begun to strike ISIS targets in Libya, as reported by Military Times.
Army Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza said in a statement, which references one of the Islamic State group’s acronyms, “Today, at the request of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), the United States’ military conducted precision air strikes against ISIS targets in Sirte, Libya, to support GNA-affiliated forces seeking to defeat ISIS in its primary stronghold in Libya.”
In addition, the Washington Post reported the statement of US Defense Department on Monday saying that the Pentagon has conducted air strikes on the Islamic State stronghold city of Sirte, Libya, which is the first direct U.S. military involvement in Libyan forces’ battle against militants there, as they claimed.
The Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement, using an acronym for the Islamic State,“Additional U.S. strikes will continue to target ISIS in Sirte in order to enable [Libya’s unity government] to make a decisive, strategic advance,”according to the Washington Post.
The statement also says that the attack was authorized by President Obama on the recommendation of Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Baldanza named the attack “consistent with our approach to combating ISIS by working with capable and motivated local forces, according to Military Times. He said that “the GNA-aligned forces have succeeded in recapturing territory from ISIS thus far around Sirte, and additional U.S. strikes will continue to target ISIS in Sirte in order to enable the GNA to make a decisive, strategic advance.”
ISIS has controlled Sirte,which lies on the Libyan coast and became the “caliphate’s” capital in North Africa. Since late May, Al Bunyan Al Marsoos (known also as the Solid Structure) military operations room, which draws fighters from Misrata, and other forces have been closing in on Sirte.
However, in a sudden development, military operation room of Sirte sent a letter to the Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord headed by Fayez al-Serraj calling for U.S. airstrikes on ISIS in Sirte.
In the letter, Solid Structure said they want the help of the U.S. warplanes to target ISIS locations in Sirte with prior mapping out and laying of target spots by the operation on the ground, reported al-Sharq Al-Awsat newpsaper.
Libyan official news agency published excerpts of the letter that said that some dangerous targets are inside the city and targeting them requires military techniques that are unavailable at the Solid Structure.
The operation room declared that fierce clashes, which are still taking place in Sirte, led to the death of 338 soldiers and the injury of 1500 others. The room explained that the nature of the city and the enemy’s tactics and actions are delaying the liberation and causing this high number of casualties.
According to the Military Times, the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship Wasp is operating in the Mediterranean Sea, in the vicinity of Libya. There are elements of the 22nd Marine Corps Expeditionary Unit standing by, sources say.