Libya: US warplanes join battle for Sirte

US warplanes and drones on Aug. 1 launched a new round of air-strikes against ISIS targets in the Libyan city of Sirte—the first such strikes carried out in support of local ground forces. A Pentagon statement said the raids were undertaken at the request of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). However, the air campiagn is in support of local militias that have declared loyalty to the GNA, which still lacks an official armed force of its own. Previous US strikes against ISIS targets elsewhere in Libya were undertaken unilaterally. An ISIS tank was said to be among the targets hit in the new strikes at Sirte. The strikes mark the opening of a new Pentagon campaign against ISIS in Libya, dubbed Operation Odyssey Lightning. (Military Times, Tripoli Post)