A group of US special forces on a secret mission against the Islamic State (ISIS) arrived at Libya’s Wattiya airbase on Monday, startling the local commanders who were not expecting them.
Twenty commandos, armed with assault rifles and bullet proof vests had their top secret mission compromised when their unit’s photo appeared on Facebook.
The special forces unit dispersed out of the Libyan airbase, after local commanders questioned their presence in the war torn country, and the Libyan air force posted their pictures on Facebook.
The Daily Express reports:
Wattiya’s proximity to Sabbath – the site of ISIS’ western Libyan base – has heightened suspicions the US is secretly trying to establish a military presence to launch strikes on the terror group.
It is unclear whether another faction of the Libyan military had granted authorisation for the mission.
The Libyan air force published photos of the soldiers in a Facebook post which said the soldiers had disembarked “in combat readiness wearing bullet proof jackets, advanced weapons”.
The Americans are pictured with assault rifles over their shoulders as they pose with soldiers from the African country.
Other photographs show the US troops boarding a blue and white passenger plane and driving a yellow buggy.
The Pentagon admitted the deployment of special forces in Libya was part of a “training mission” sent this week but it is unclear whether the soldiers had left the war-torn country.
Officials had the mission aimed at enhancing ties with the Libyan National Army but did not explain why the troops, who were not in uniform, were sent in unannounced.
Libya is in turmoil as several rival factions seek to control the country in its ongoing civil war.
Several NATO forces – including the US, France and UK – have spoken about the prospect of sending troops to Libya amid fears of the growing presence of ISIS militants in the north African country.
A Pentagon statement confirmed US forces were at the base. A spokeswoman said: “With the concurrence of Libyan officials, US military personnel traveled to Libya on 14 December to engage in a dialogue with representatives of the Libyan National Army. While in Libya, members of a local militia demanded that the US personnel depart. In an effort to avoid conflict, they did leave, without incident.”
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