In his last military order as POTUS, Barack Obama commissioned the bombing of two ISIS camps in Libya which resulted in the death of around 80 militants.
American stealth bombers and drones carried out air strikes on two Islamic State camps located about 30 miles from Sirte, Libya, on Wednesday night. The strikes destroyed the camps and initial estimates suggest that around 80 militants were killed according to U.S. defense officials, reports CNN.
The two B-2 Spirit Bombers, used for the first time since 2011, dropped over a hundred precision bombs on the camps. The jihadists who survived the initial strike and attempted to flee were eliminated with "hellfire" missiles launched from drones.
The strikes, approved by President Obama a few days ago, were carried out with cooperation from Libya's United Nations-backed Government of National Accord. The last military operation to be green-lit by Obama, the airstrikes were conducted as militants in the camps were seen carrying weapons and mortars, wearing tactical vests and standing in formation.
"The fighters training in these camps posed a security risk to Libya, to its neighbors, to our allies in Africa and Europe, and to the United States," Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters. "While we are still evaluating the results of the strikes, the initial assessment indicates they were successful."
United States surveillance aircraft had been monitoring the region for weeks as militants fled from Sirte following the retaking of the coastal city by Libyan militias in December last year. The militants headed in land to the camps located in remote desert areas which they believed to be a safe zone.
U.S. defense officials believed that the individuals in these camps were either responsible for previous attacks or were planning future terrorist attacks in Europe, according to ABC News. The officials also stated that there were no women or children in the camps.
The United States carried out around 500 airstrikes against ISIS in Libya from August to December 2016. This was done to cull the growing threat of Libya emerging as a safe haven for ISIS militants in the same way that Iraq and Syria did a few years ago.
"We are committed to maintaining pressure on ISIL and preventing them from establishing safe haven," Peter Cook said in a statement (ISIL is another acronym for the Islamic State). "These strikes will degrade ISIL's ability to stage attacks against Libyan forces and civilians working to stabilize Sirte, and demonstrate our resolve in countering the threat posed by ISIL to Libya, the United States and our allies."
The 30-plus hour mission, which sent two U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit bombers to Libya from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, reportedly cost $8.8 million. This figure does not include the price of the massive ordinance carried by the bombers or the refueling jets involved in the mission.