Is this a one-off strike or the start of something bigger?
CAIRO — American warplanes bombed an Islamic State training camp in Libya early Friday, killing at least 41 people, most likely including a militant commander linked to attacks on Western tourists, in a strike that highlighted the widening gap between American military and diplomatic efforts in the region.
The airstrikes in Sabratha, a seaside town 50 miles west of Tripoli, targeted Noureddine Chouchane, a Tunisian militant linked to two major attacks on Western tourists in Tunisia last year. He had also facilitated the arrival of Islamic State recruits in Libya, the Pentagon said in a statement confirming the strikes.
Mr. Chouchane was probably killed in the strike, the Pentagon said.
If the Pentagon thinks Chouchane was “probably killed,” I’m giving him a 60% chance of still being alive. It’s just too hard to ascertain individual casualties after a strike like this.
There’s been more and more talk of a big US intervention in Libya recently, so there’s a strong possibility that this is the first of many more strikes to come. On the other hand, the US has hit targets in Libya in one-off attacks before–in November, for example–so this could simply be another one of those.
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