About 80 ISIS fighters were killed in that strike when unmanned aircraft and B-2 Spirit bombers, flying from a base in Missouri, bombed two ISIS training camps 45 kilometers southwest of Sirte.
The terrorist group had long eyed Libya as a potential base, and ISIS fighters were able to take advantage of the destabilizing years-long Libyan Civil War, seizing the coastal city of Sirte in 2015.
But local militias aligned with the internationally recognized Government of National Accord and backed by over 500 US airstrikes were able to recapture the city in December.
Friday’s strike comes just days after the United Nations launched a new push to bring stability to Libya as part of a bid to help reconcile the Government of National Accord, led by Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj and the Libyan National Army, led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar, which controls much of the country’s east.
“They don’t want ISIS there, they agree on that,”the head of US Africa Command, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, said of the two sides while speaking to an audience at the US Institute of Peace this month.
“We are focused on continuing to support the Government of National Accord,” Waldhauser said. “We also are working to prevent all out civil war in that country. We’ve opened up a line of communication with Gen. Haftar, who is a leading figure of the Libyan National Army.” He added: “We are also of course keeping up the pressure on the counter terrorism fight in that country.”
But when asked in April if he envisioned a US role in helping stabilize Libya, Trump said the US would focus on fighting ISIS.
“I do not see a role in Libya. I think the United States has right now enough roles,” Trump told reporters at a White House press conference alongside the prime minister of Italy.
“I do see a role in getting rid of ISIS. We’re being very effective in that regard,” Trump added.