Don't miss




The Joubran Trio: 'We hope one day to be free of our identity'

Read more


Fields of despair: Suicide plagues French farmers

Read more


Was Tanzanian billionaire's kidnapping 'a political warning'?

Read more


OAS chief urges ICC to open formal probe into Venezuela crimes

Read more


Down syndrome in France: 'People are ready for inclusion, institutions must catch up'

Read more


Who is still going to Saudi Arabia's investment conference?

Read more


Cameroon's Paul Biya wins seventh term in poll marred by low turnout

Read more

#THE 51%

The Gender Divide: Record number of women running in US midterms

Read more


The Nativist: Trump warns of migrant 'emergency' ahead of midterms

Read more


France flies surveillance missions over IS group-held territory in Libya

© ECPAD / EMA / ARMEE DE L'AIR / AFP file picture | According to President Hollande’s office, the two reconnaissance missions were carried out last month


Latest update : 2015-12-05

French military aircraft have flown reconnaissance and intelligence missions over Libya, including areas controlled by Islamic State, and more are planned, a presidential document shows.

According to the press dossier provided on Friday ahead of President Francois Hollande’s visit to the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier off the coast of Syria, two missions were flown on Nov. 20 and 21 around the towns of Sirte and Tobruk.

French warplanes have been bombing Islamic State in Iraq for more than a year, and in Syria since September. France stepped up its bombing in Syria after the attacks by Islamic State (IS) in Paris on Nov. 13 that killed 130 people.

The French government had not previously acknowledged carrying out operations over IS zones in Libya. Sirte is controlled by the group.

“Other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights are also planned,” the document said.

Neither the defence ministry nor president’s office were immediately available for comment.

IS in Libya has between 2,000 and 3,000 fighters and is the only affiliate known to have received support and guidance from the extremist group’s stronghold in Syria and Iraq, U.N. experts said in a report circulated on Tuesday.

The North African oil producer is in chaos, with two rival governments, each backed by armed factions, procrastinating over signing a previously negotiated agreement for a unity government.

Political void

French officials have been warning for more than a year that the political void is creating favourable conditions for Islamist groups.

Paris has redeployed some 3,500 troops - previously used to intervene in its former colony Mali in 2013 - across West Africa, including near Libya’s southern border, to form a counter-terrorism force.

“Libya worries me because Daesh (IS) has installed itself by taking advantage of local rivalries,” French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Nov. 22.

“If we can unite those forces against Daesh, it will no longer exist as they have sufficient military means.”

Italy said on Dec. 2 it wanted to host an international meeting in Rome this month to promote a political deal between Libya’s rival governments and open the way to fight IS militants there.

French officials have said they would be ready to support a united government militarily against IS, but have ruled out sending ground forces.


Date created : 2015-12-05


    Tunisia to build border wall with Libya to halt jihadists

    Read more


    Four years on, Gaddafi's legacy plagues chaotic Libya

    Read more


    Libya appeals for help against IS group as Sirte falls

    Read more