American warplanes; Air Force F-15E jets that took off from a base in Lakenheath England, struck an Islāmic State camp in Libya today targeting a Tunisian terror operative who was linked to two attacks in Tunisia last year. The terrorist by name, Chouchane Noureddine was allegedly killed in the airstrike.
The air strike which occurred at 3:30 am, outside Sabratha about 50 miles west of Tripoli, killed at least 30 Islāmic State operatives. The mayor of Sabratha, however confirmed that 40 people were killed, with a couple others injured.
The attack comes a few days after US President Barack Obama said he has been “clear from the outset that we will go after ISIS wherever it appears, the same way that we went after Al-Qaeda wherever they appeared.”
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“We will continue to take actions where we’ve got a clear operation and a clear target in mind,” he said, adding, “As we see opportunities to prevent ISIS from digging in, in Libya, we take them.”
Chouchane was suspected of being a major mastermind behind the Islamic State attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis that killed 22 people in March and another in June that killed 38 people at a beach in the coastal resort in Sousse. Mr. Chouchane was one of five fugitives for whom the Tunisian Interior Ministry issued arrest warrants after the museum attack.
A western official claimed that the strike on ISIL was targeted at Chouchane Noureddine and not a new American war on a Muslim Nation. Special operation forces who were using drones and satellite imagery to monitor Chouchane realized some weeks ago that he had gained new recruits from Tunisia and other countries in the region, training them for a speculated attack.
“The number of foreign fighters conducting the type of training they were doing under Chouchane’s direction led us to believe they were preparing for a major attack outside of Libya, either in the region or possibly Europe,” the official said.
The Islamic Sate has a stronghold in Libya, often using it as a training ground for new recruits. The US has often used airstrikes to target prominent terrorists in Libya. Last year, Abu Nabil a long time operative of Al-Qaeda who had become affiliated with the Islamic State was killed in an air strike.