Libyan forces allied with the U.N.-backed government fire weapons during a battle with IS fighters in Sirte, Libya, July 21, 2016. REUTERS/GORAN TOMASEVIC
Washington Post: U.S. Special Operations troops aiding Libyan forces in major battle against Islamic State
U.S. Special Operations forces are providing direct, on-the-ground support for the first time to fighters battling the Islamic State in Libya, U.S. and Libyan officials said, coordinating American airstrikes and providing intelligence information in an effort to oust the group from a militant stronghold.
The positioning of a small number of elite U.S. personnel, operating alongside British troops, in the coastal city of Sirte deepens the involvement of Western nations against the Islamic State’s most powerful affiliate.
U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a mission that has not been announced publicly, said the American troops were operating out of a joint operations center on the city’s outskirts and that their role was limited to supporting forces loyal to the country’s fragile unity government.
Robyn Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Africa Command (Africom), said small numbers of U.S. military personnel would continue to go in and out of Libya to exchange information with local forces, but she declined to provide details.
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Update: Pentagon acknowledges US ground forces supporting ISIS fight in Libya (The Hill)
WNU Editor: The Pentagon is denying these reports .... Pentagon denies U.S. troops in direct combat role in Libya (Washington Examiner).
In the meantime the battle for Sirte continues ....
Libyan forces report capture of Sirte convention center, hospital from Islamic State -- Reuters
US-backed Libyan forces takeover IS headquarters in Sirte -- AP
Libyan Forces Say They’ve Retaken IS Headquarters in Sirte -- Bloomberg
Libyan forces take 90% of IS hideouts in Sirte, advance into Ouagadougou Halls -- Libyan Express