Libya is rapidly turning into a new front in the fight against ISIS, which is heavily recruiting militants from abroad and trying to exploit years of chaos to expand its foothold in the oil-rich North African nation.
Washington and its European allies are seeking to end the interminable divisions among Libyan factions to form a unity government that the West can support in fighting the jihadis. U.S. airstrikes on Friday against an ISIS training camp, which killed more than 40 suspected militants including a prominent Tunisian leader, were a sign the U.S. is ready to move robustly even before a unity government is agreed upon.
From their stronghold in the city of Sirte, the militants have lashed out in recent months with suicide bombings against police. They have made forays attacking Libya’s vital oilfields and export facilities, setting back efforts to rebuild what is effectively its only money-making industry.