French Special Forces in 'secret war' in Libya

French Special Forces in 'secret war' in Libya
A French newspaper has revealed that 'Black Ops' troops are waging a shadow war in Libya, alongside the United States and Britain.
2 min read
24 February, 2016
Libya has been in a political turmoil rocked by violence since 2011 [Getty]

France is carrying out covert operations against the Islamic State group in Libya with the United States and Britain, it has been revealed.

Specialist bloggers have reported sightings of French Special Forces in eastern Libya since mid-February, French newspaper Le Monde has said.

The newspaper said President Francois Hollande authorised the "unofficial military action" by both an elite armed forces unit and the covert action service of the DGSE intelligence agency.

Hollande has previously said France was at war with the Islamic State [IS] group after it claimed responsibility for a wave of attacks in the capital last November, killing 130 people.

Libya has been in political turmoil rocked by violence since the ousting of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 revolution.

It now has two governments and parliaments, with the recognised authorities based in the eastern city of Tobruk and a militia-backed authority in Tripoli.

Islamic State group militants have taken advantage of this growing chaos to expand its foothold in the North African country. IS first appeared in Libya in 2014 and has since claimed responsibility for beheadings and suicide bombings.

Last June, IS fighters captured Sirte, 280 miles [450 kilometres] east of Tripoli.

The group already controlled the city's airport and a nearby power plant.

Le Monde
says the secret French operation involves occasional targeted strikes against leaders of IS, prepared by discreet action on the ground.

It is aiming to slow the group's growth in Libya.

There has been no official statement or confirmation from the French government on the operation.

However, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has ordered an investigation into "breaches of national defence secrecy" to identify the sources of the Le Monde report.