US will send drones to North Africa to fight ISIL in Libya

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SHAFAQNA - Citing a senior US official, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Washington is holding discussions about the plan with several North African countries.
The Journal said drone flights would give US military and intelligence agencies real-time information on the group’s activities in Libya.
Such a base near ISIL strongholds in the African  country would help the United States “fill gaps in our understanding of what’s going on” in that region, the Journal quoted the unnamed official as saying.
The report, however, said no North African country had yet agreed to offer access to a base. The administration declined to identify countries that could host US Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). US allies Egypt and Tunisia share borders with Libya.
“Any such facility would likely be an existing base under the control of the host country, with the United States receiving permission to place drones there along with a limited number of military personnel,” the official said.
Commenting on the report, White House National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey said, “We are cooperating closely with nations in North Africa, the Sahel (a sub-Saharan region), and Europe, which share our concerns about threats emanating from Libya. This includes gaining greater intelligence about the groups operating there.”
The report also quoted retired General Carter Ham as saying “The presence of ISIL and other extremist groups in Libya, particularly in eastern Libya, is of significant concern to the US.”
“Not only has ISIL already conducted deadly attacks in Libya and Tunisia, eastern Libya remains a significant transit point for foreign fighters seeking to join ISIL in Syria and Iraq,” he added.
The US and its allies have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria since last year.
Observers say while the US and its allies claim they are fighting against terrorist groups like ISIL, they in fact helped create and train those organizations to affect their policies in the Middle East.

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