By Saber Ayyub.
Tripoli, 19 February 2016:
Suspected IS targets in Sabratha have been hit early this morning in a seemingly devastating airstrike . . .[restrict]by what appear to be US warplanes.
Sources at the town’s hospital have told the Libya Herald that at least 41 bodies have so far been brought it, along with numerous casualties. The source added that the injured were all Arabs from a variety of countries, but none of them was Libyan.
Sabratha mayor Hussein Dawadi told Libya TV that the properties that had been hit were suspected to be occupied by IS. He added that some of the occupants had only recently arrived in the town.
There are unconfirmed reports that one of the targets was an IS leader, Tunisian Noureddine Chouchane.
Ansar Al-Sharia has long-maintained a camp outside Sabratha which has become an IS transit camp for recruits arriving from Tunisia and also a training ground. The three Tunisians responsible for the Bardo and Sousse terror attacks on tourists are all said to have trained in Sabratha.
It was widely suspected that terrorists from the camp were responsible for the January 2014 beach murder of a British oil worker and a New Zealand friend on a Sabratha beach.
Though Sabrathans originally denied the presence of any such camp, attitudes have changed as the terrorists sought the increase their local influence and threatened the priceless Roman ruins that are the coastal town’s major asset. The Sabratha Security headquarters were bombed last December and mayor Dawadi declared a state of emergency in the town.