ArmyTimes newspaper has reported a senior US defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as saying that the Pentagon assess that airstrikes on ISIS militants in Libya were a pretty significant degradation of their capabilities and they struggle to reconstitute because of the nature of the operatives who were killed in this strike and the fact that they have already been struggling with manpower.
The airstrikes killed an estimated 43 ISIS fighters, with roughly 100 still remaining, according to the senior US defense official.
We certainly don’t assess that they’re expanding,” the official added.
The official maintained that the Americans, meanwhile, are focused on a political solution to the Libyan conflict, and only conducted the recent strikes to “keep pressure” on ISIS-Libya.
ArmyTimes said the official doubted that ISIS-Libya could return to its pre-2016 levels of power, around the time when its fighters lost their hold over the coastal city of Sirte and fled into the desert.
He added that many of the fighters in ISIS-Libya these days are native Libyans and the group is primarily attempting to recruit locally, the defense official said. Though, foreign recruits have been part of the group in the past.