US warship launches attack on IS militants in Sirte

USS San Antonio
USS San Antonio

US Marines are using Super Cobra attack helicopters to mount close-range airstrikes against Islamic State militants in the Libyan city of Sirte, the US navy said Thursday.

The gunship attacks, the first of their kind to be confirmed in over two months, were launched overnight from the USS San Antonio, an amphibious transport dock ship deployed off the North African state.

A statement from the US navy’s base at Naples in southern Italy said the Cobras were carrying out “precision airstrikes” during combat operations in Sirte, a coastal city where IS loyalists established a base in 2015.

The US Naval Forces in Europe base did not immediately provide further details of the scope, objectives or impact of the attacks.

They were part of a sea-borne air operation launched by President Barack Obama in August in support of Libya’s fledgling national unity government’s attempt to drive IS out of Sirte.

Hundreds of airstrikes have been unleashed but the only previously confirmed deployment of the Cobra gunships came at the end of August.

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