A significant escalation of America’s war in Libya, African Command (AFRICOM) officials have confirmed that AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters have been deployed into the country to carry out “close air support” missions against ISIS forces.
The helicopters are being launched from the USS Wasp, an amphibious assault ship deployed in the area, and officials say it expands the capability of US forces in Libya, which are aiming to prop up the UN-backed “unity government” in fighting ISIS over control of Sirte.
The US began strikes in support of the attack on Sirte on August 1. The unity government has claimed substantial gains in the fighting, including a series of guest houses around a convention center, and after additional fighting the convention center itself.
The unity government is struggling to gain credibility both at home and abroad, controlling little territory inside Libya, and with the UN-backed Tobruk parliament passing a vote of no-confidence just yesterday. The US is backing them militarily, but the unity government’s own forces are limited.