The U.S. conducted a precision airstrike against Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Libya on June 13 near the town of Bani Walid, U.S. Africa Command announced on Thursday, the third airstrike against two different militant groups in the country in the recent months.
- The AQIM militant killed in June 13 strike is the second so far this year after a March 24 strike took out high-ranking official Musa Abu Duwud.
- AQIM isn’t the only militant group the U.S. is targeting. A June 6 airstrike killed four ISIS-Libya fighters, also in Bani Walid.
- The strikes were carried out in coordination with the Libyan government as part of the United States’ stated mission to “degrade, disrupt, and destroy terrorist organizations and support stability in the region,’ a mission the Trump administration restarted in September 2017.
It’s worth noting that the new strikes in Libya come amid a major uptick in both airstrikes and troop levels in Somalia over the last year — an uptick that culminated in the death of a U.S. Army Green Beret there during a June 8 mission. Indeed, Army Green Berets are also waging a new ground war in Yemen. How long until AFRICOM’s announcements of Libya strikes are punctuated with news of a U.S. casualty there?