US air strike in Libya kills Qaeda operative: military

An MQ-9 Reaper on a training mission in 2015

Washington (AFP) - The US military has conducted an air strike in Libya targeting an Al-Qaeda affiliate, killing one "terrorist," the US military said Thursday.

The Wednesday strike took place approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of the town of Bani Walid, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a statement.

"In coordination with the Libyan Government of National Accord, US forces conducted a precision air strike against Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)... killing one terrorist," the statement read, adding that no civilians had been killed in the action.

AFRICOM said it was the second US strike against AQIM in Libya. 

The first, on March 24, resulted in the death of Musa Abu Dawud, a high-ranking AQIM official, officials said. 

Libya has been gripped by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, with rival administrations and multiple militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

Jihadists and people-traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the North African country.

On June 6, AFRICOM said it had killed four members of an Islamic State jihadist group affiliate, also near Bani Walid.

The town, on the edge of the desert, is a transit point for migrants aiming to reach Europe by boat from the coast further north. 

©Agence France Presse

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