US airstrike targets Tunisian IS group militant in Libya

US airstrike targets Tunisian IS group militant in Libya
A US official has confirmed that an airstrike in Libya of Friday was aimed at a terror suspect linked to massacres in Tunisia
2 min read
19 February, 2016
Friday's airstrike targeted a militant linked with last year's Bardo Museum massacre [Anadolu]

US military warplanes have killed over 40 suspected Islamic State group militants in Libya's western city of Sabratha.

A military spokesman has confirmed that the overnight raid was targeting a senior Tunisian member of the group who is thought to be hiding in Libya.

Speaking to Reuters, Sabratha's mayor, Hussein al-Dawadi, said that 41 people were killed and six others were wounded after the stike began at around 3:30am local time. Al-Thawadi also claimed that weapons were found in the building following the airstrike. The discovery of such items comes after Tunisian security forces have expressed their suspicions of the existence of terrorist training camps near Sabratha, which is close to the Tunisian border.

The mayor, however, seemed to deny these allegations.

“A number of them living in a secluded area like this is, of course, suspicious,” al-Dawadi said on Friday. “It must have been a sleeper cell, not a training camp.”

A US offical told CNN early on Friday that investigations were underway to see whether the wanted militant, Noureddine Chouchane, had been killed.

Chouchane is thought to have played a key role in two terror attacks in Tunisia last year, one of which took claimed the lives of 23 people at Tunis' Bardo Museum, and the other which left 38 dead at a seaside resort in Sousse. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for both massacres.

According to US officials, the Islamic State group has grown to number around 5,000 members in Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. A large portion of this number are thought to be fighters from Tunisia who have fled to the neighbouring country.