U.S. airstrikes in Libya have reportedly targeted a Tunisian ISIS commander, multiple news organizations are reporting, citing U.S. officials.
The airstrikes, which reportedly were carried out early Friday near the town of Sabratha, about 50 miles west of Tripoli, the capital, come as the White House is considering military action against ISIS, which has made significant recent gains in Libya.
The New York Times, citing the Pentagon, reported the ISIS operative, Noureddine Chouchane, was most likely killed. A spokesman for the U.S. African Command, Colonel Mark Cheadle, told Reuters the Pentagon was “assessing the results of the operation.” An unnamed U.S. official told the Associated Press the target of the strikes was an ISIS training camp in Libya, but did not provide any indication as to whether Chouchane was specifically targeted.
Chouchane is the ISIS militant who is believed to have masterminded two deadly attacks in Tunisia last year: one on the Bardo National Museum in Tunis killed 22 people; the other, in a coastal resort in Sousse, killed 38.
There were varying reports of how many people were killed in the U.S. airstrikes. The Times, citing an unnamed Western official, said at least 30 ISIS recruits, many of them Tunisian, were killed at the site. Libya Herald, an English-language news website, quoted sources at the town’s hospital as saying at least 41 bodies had been brought there. Hussein Dawadi, the town’s mayor, provided similar numbers to Libya TV, adding most of those killed had recently arrived in town.