WASHINGTON – The United States would possibly conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State in Libya if invited by the Libyan Government of National Accord, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) head General David Rodriguez said in a press briefing on Thursday.
“[Y]es, that’s a possibility,” Rodrigues stated of the likelihood the United States would launch airstrikes against the Islamic State in Libya. “It will be determined by the Government of National Accord and the international community in how that moves forward.”
Rodrigues noted that airstrikes are only one option for the United States to support the Government of National Accord. The decision to utilise airstrikes would depend on the government’s needs as well as on the international community, he observed.
Rodriguez pointed out that ground forces inside Libya, which include remnants of the Libyan National Army as well as various militias that at times fight each other, have had success against Islamic State fighters. The Government of National Accord, he added, will have to unite those forces in order to defeat the Islamic State.
Rodriguez said he estimated there were between 4,000 and 6,000 Islamic State fighters in Libya, and their number has doubled in the last 12 to 18 months.
The Islamic State, also known as Daesh, has been designated as a terrorist organisation and is outlawed in the United States, Russia and numerous other countries.