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Following the attack that left 130 people dead in Paris, the French continue to let the world know in no uncertain terms that they are serious about defeating ISIS, wherever on earth they exist and by whatever means necessary.
The report stated that:
President Francois Hollande had authorized “unofficial military action” by both an elite armed forces unit and the covert action service of the DGSE intelligence agency in the conflict-ridden North African state, which has two rival governments and largely ungoverned desert spaces.
These operations by special forces are targeted at high-ranking members of ISIS and are prepared by covert operations on the ground. In fact, the paper said that specialist bloggers have seen French special forces in Libya since mid-February.
While no one within the French government will comment on the report, it has caused headaches within the French military and an investigation has been launched into the source of the leak.
The French did confirm however that a military base has been set up in Niger, which borders Libya but refuse to acknowledge any covert activity in the country. Le Monde quoted one official as saying:
“The last thing to do would be to intervene in Libya. We must avoid any overt military engagement, but act discreetly.”
Libya has become a hot-bed of ISIS activity and it shows in the increased bombings in the country by coalition forces. Just last Friday, a U.S. airstrike took out an ISIS training camp killing 50 people including 2 Serbian prisoners.
This isn’t France’s first foray into Libya and they are not doing it alone. France took the lead in the bombing that overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi back in 2011 under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy. Some argue that the removal of Gaddafi may have created the power vacuum that allowed ISIS to rise to power.
Now, with two governments competing for power – one based in Tripoli and the other in the east – the fighting is occurring on numerous fronts. Just this Monday, multiple clashes broke out in the city of Benghazi leaving 12 dead and 17 injured.
It was in that very city that the U.S.’s focus on Libya piqued leading up to the overthrow of Gaddafi when Ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans died as terrorists over ran the U.S. consulate in 2012.