A view shows Sharara oil field near Ubari, Libya, July 6, 2017. Picture taken July 6, 2017. (Reuters/Aidan Lewis)

CAIRO (Reuters) - The U.S. military denied on Thursday taking part in a raid on an al Qaeda site in the Libyan city of Ubari, contradicting a statement by a Libyan official.

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Major General Marcus Hicks, the senior officer reprimanded in connection with last year’s ambush in which four Army soldiers were killed in Niger, was not set up for success. The way this has been handled sends a clear message, but it is not a good one for building trust, accountability, and underwriting mistakes.

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U.S. Army/Spc. Zayid Ballesteros

ISIS may be degraded beyond recognition in Iraq and Syria, but the Department of Defense is ramping up its fight against the terror organization far beyond the traditional battlefields of the Middle East.

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U.S. Army/Spc. Zayid Ballesteros

The Department of Defense reportedly plans on reducing and assigning special operations forces (SOF) in Africa by the hundreds and limit the number of SOF missions on the continent. The New York Times reported on August 1 that Pentagon officials “expected most of the troop cuts and scaled-back missions to come from Central and West Africa, where Special Operations missions have focused on training African militaries to combat the growing threat from extremist Islamist militant groups.”   

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U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Ryan Conroy

Two members of Marine Special Operations Command received valor awards for their heroism during a gun battle last year with al Qaeda militants in Northern Africa, a spokeswoman for U.S. Africa Command confirmed on Wednesday.

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Amid gradually escalating U.S. military involvement in countries like Yemen and Somalia, a new analysis suggests that the Department of Defense has conducted 550 drone strikes in Libya since 2011, a wave of airstrikes that eclipses those conducted in Yemen, Somalia, and even Pakistan.

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