US Strike Kills 17 as South Libya Operations Continue to Escalate

AFRICOM officials say attacks are targeting ISIS fighters

For the third time in a little over a week, US Africa Command has reported an airstrike against southern Libya on Friday, this time declaring 17 people killed. All were declared “terrorists” in the official statement.

AFRICOM’s statement offers fewer details than those of the previous two strikes. Those attacks were near Murzuq, but there was no official indication where this new strike was. Locals in Sebha said they heard explosions to the south, so it’s likely in the same general area.

AFRICOM further said that the attacks are meant to target ISIS fighters, and dubbed the slain terrorists, saying no civilians were killed. This differs from the past attacks, in which the statement only declared everyone killed a “suspect.”

There is still no evidence who is actually being killed in south Libya, and the UN has reported evidence of a lot of civilians being slain. The US seems to be eager to escalate in this region, and due to its remoteness, even by Libyan standards, getting reliable information out of the area is difficult, meaning some things just aren’t going to be known for awhile.

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.