By Walid Abdullah
TRIPOLI (AA) – Eleven members of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group have been killed in a U.S. airstrike in southwestern Libya, according to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
In coordination with Libya’s UN-backed government, AFRICOM conducted a “precision airstrike” on Thursday near the Libyan town of Al-Uwaynat near the Algerian border, AFRICOM said in a Friday statement.
The airstrike, it added, had led to the death of 11 Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) terrorists and the destruction of three vehicles.
“At this time, we assess no civilians were injured or killed,” the statement read.
The Libyan authorities, for their part, have yet to issue a comment on AFRICOM’s assertions.
On Thursday, a local official from the nearby town of Ghat had told Anadolu Agency that an “unidentified warplane” had struck a “moving target” near Al-Uwaynat.
Speaking anonymously, the official added that the strike had left at least 10 people dead.
One of the U.S. Armed Forces’ ten unified combat commands, AFRICOM oversees all U.S. military operations in 53 African nations.
In March, a warplane struck a residential home in Libya’s southwestern city of Ubari, causing a number of casualties.
The U.S. later claimed responsibility for the strike, saying the residence had been used by “terrorist” elements.
Warplanes struck the same region again in July, killing at least one person. No party ever claimed responsibility for that strike.
Since the outer and death of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, terrorist groups have exploited the lack of central authority in Libya to expand their presence, especially in the country’s south.