A US Marine Corps AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopter
The United States has deployed attack helicopters to Libya to help local forces fighting against the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group, a US military official says.
The Pentagon has already deployed fighter jets as well as Special Operations troops to the North African country to purportedly assist forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) to retake the coastal city of Sirte.
Marine Corps AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters recently joined the operation, Lieutenant Commander Anthony Falvo, a spokesman for the US military's Africa Command (AFRICOM), said on Tuesday.
"The Cobras provide additional precision airstrike capability," Stuttgart-based Falvo told AFP in a phone interview. "It gives us a little bit more flexibility."
SuperCobra gunships are stationed on the USS Wasp, the US Navy’s multipurpose amphibious assault ship in the Mediterranean Sea.
This US Marine photo obtained August 23, 2016 shows Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Henry, an aviation boatswains mate from Pearl City, Hawaii, as he guides an AH-1Z "Viper SuperCobra" landing aboard USS Makin Island on October 5, 2010 in the Pacific Ocean. (AFP photo)
Forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) run towards a building in Sirteas they comb through residential neighborhoods that were previously controlled by Daesh, clearing the area of booby traps and car bombs on August 22, 2016. (AFP photo)
Harrier Jump jet fighters are also launching airstrikes from the ship to target alleged Daesh positions in Sirte. The US reportedly conducted 77 airstrikes in the city on Monday.
Sirte, the major stronghold of Daesh outside Iraq and Syria, fell to the Takfiri terrorists in February 2015. The full recapture of the city would be a major boost to the unity government, which has come to office through support from the United Nations.
Daesh has been taking advantage of the chaos embroiling Libya since the NATO-backed overthrow and death of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
"We are there at the request of the GNA," Falvo said.
"We will continue our support for as long as it is requested. If they were to tell us tomorrow they don't need our support any more, we would end our support at that point,” he stated.
Nearly five years after the overthrow of Gaddafi, Libya has become almost a failed state, with the central government holding no sway over the country.
US President Barack Obama has authorized the Pentagon to open a new military front against Daesh terrorists in Libya after the fledgling government there asked for help with precision targeting inside Sirte.
According to American journalist Don Debar, the United States and its allies are responsible for destroying Africa’s wealthiest nation, Libya, in order to re-colonize the African continent.
Gaddafi was deposed because he “was well into the process of helping to organize a United States of Africa, an integrated African polity and economy, and was offering to bankroll it with Libya’s wealth.” DeBar, an anti-war activist and radio host in New York, told Press TV earlier this month.
“That was something that would run counter to the US plans, now actualized by installing AFRICOM on the continent, essentially re-colonizing Africa,” he said.