In Libya, AFRICOM lays plans to hunt down escaped Islamic State fighters

The Pentagons groundwork to expand it’s operations to counter ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra is long overdue.  Obama administration made this decision to direct the Pentagon and the Treasury Department  to go after ISIS and Al Nusra the day after the election that was won by Donald Trump.  Obama was not counting on Trump winning the election so he must have decided to actual do his job in his last few months in office, Commander in Chief.

Source: Washington Post

The Pentagon has tracked scores of Islamic State militants escaping fierce fighting in Libya’s coastal city of Sirte and has begun laying the groundwork for expanded air attacks to follow and kill them, part of a final push by the Obama administration to blunt multiplying militant threats across the broader Middle East.

Intelligence from surveillance aircraft flying over Sirte and areas south of the city allowed the U.S. military’s Africa Command to track up to several hundred militants who U.S. officials now fear could be preparing to mount a counter­attack on allied Libyan forces.

The president’s counter­terrorism advisers are eager for Africa Command to pursue militants who have fled the coastal city but say military planners have more “homework” to do collecting and analyzing U.S. intelligence on their new encampments to ensure that U.S. strikes won’t inadvertently kill civilians.

“These guys are fleeing the fighting. There aren’t too many of them,” said one U.S. senior official who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss operations. “Why wouldn’t you want to pick them off?”

The Libya expansion comes amid a series of military escalations the White House has directed in recent months, from targeting leaders of al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria to launching major campaigns against Islamic State strongholds in Syria and Iraq. The Pentagon has also expanded operations in Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan in a bid to beat back resurgent militant threats.

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