by Staff Writers
Benghazi, Libya (AFP) Dec 1, 2015
Warplanes from Libya's internationally recognised government have hit positions of the Islamic State group pushing eastward from their stronghold in Sirte toward the oil hub of Ajdabiya, a senior officer said Tuesday.
IS, which already controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, has exploited the chaos that spread across Libya after veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 uprising.
The jihadists control Sirte, Kadhafi's hometown 450 kilometres (280 miles) east of Tripoli and have been battling both government forces and Islamists in second city Benghazi, a further 550 kilometres to the east.
They are now trying to expand their zone of influence to Ajdabiya, which lies between Sirte and Benghazi and is in the heart of one of the North African country's major oil-producing regions.
The senior officer said warplanes Tuesday struck a "house in an industrial area south of Ajdabiya where jihadists were meeting".
The attack was part of a campaign aimed at preventing them from capturing the city, which is held by militias loyal to the recognised government.
Tuesday's strike was preceded by others last week, the officer said.
Last month, Foreign Minister Mohammed Dayri warned that Ajdabiya was at risk of becoming a "new fief" of IS, which has reportedly murdered 37 people, mostly military personnel, there in recent weeks.
IS, which has claimed several deadly attacks in Libya, as well as the murder of hostages, is also trying to retake the city of Derna, in the country's far east, have having been driven out by rival forces.
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|