AFRICOM’s hunt for Islamic State militants stretches across Libya

Source: Stars and Stripes

U.S. Africa Command is tracking Islamic State fighters who have fled the battle in the coastal Libyan city of Sirte, a possible prelude to more expansive U.S. airstrikes in the country, the top U.S. general for Africa said.

“We have to continue to develop those targets and have certainty of who we are seeing and what the activities are,” AFRICOM’s Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said in an interview with Stars and Stripes late Wednesday. “We just need to have that level of certainty if we decide to strike outside the limits of Sirte.”

The move to neutralize Islamic State fighters in other parts of Libya comes amid concerns the group could regroup and threaten the North African nation’s fragile government or infiltrate into neighboring states, Waldhauser said.

“We need to leverage that success (in Sirte) by watching where these individuals go, keeping track of where they are,” he said. “Because what we don’t want them to do is re-emerge, come back, attack Tripoli, attack the (government) forces, who are in Sirte, from behind.”

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