US B-2 Stealth bombers and drones carried out a raid against presumed ISIS camps in the Libyan desert Jan. 19, in what will likely be the final air-strikes ordered by President Obama. The operation targeted two camps located just over 40 kilometers southwest of Sirte, the coastal city recently liberated from ISIS by an alliance of local militias. The strikes, which left scores dead, were reportedly ordered several days ago on the basis of information gathered from the air and on the ground. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said militants at the camps "were actively planning operations against our allies in Europe." (Al Jazeera, NPR, ANSA)
The air-strikes come amid growing discontent with the foreign military presence in Libya. The administration of Abdullah al-Thani, leader of the "unrecognized" government based in Libya's east, charged that 1,000 US trioops have arrived in Tripoli to back up the "official" Government of National Accord based in the city.
Forces loyal to the eastern-based government have also charged the GNA with inviting in more Italian troops. The Aboubaker Al-Siddiq Brigade of the Libyan National Army in October issued a statement expressing "deep bitterness" over "violations of our country's sovereignty in the return of Italian colonialism, and the presence of Italian troops in Jufra military base." (Ashar al-Awsat, Jan. 14; Tripoli Post, Oct. 22)
The US and other powers have been sporadically bombing targets in Libya for months.