Trump’s First Airstrikes on Libya Kill 17

AFRICOM Says Struck Site Was ISIS Camp

For the first time since President Trump’s inauguration, the US has carried out airstrikes inside Libya, bombing what they described as an ISIS camp within central Libya, southeast of Sirte. 17 people were killed, and the US claimed all were ISIS.

African Command (AFRICOM) claimed that the drone strikes targeted a desert camp which “had been connected to multiple attacks across Europe.” Such a claim is common in US military attacks in nations the US is not engaged in a war.

That’s because legally speaking such strikes rest on them being special cases involving specific threats to allies. This language features in official reports on myriad US airstrikes across Africa in recent years.

The last US airstrikes in Libya took place the day before Trump’s inauguration, killing over 80 people around Sirte. The Pentagon gave almost an identical justification at the time that everyone killed was “external plotters” for ISIS, and tried to connect the killings to a recent attack in Germany.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.