Libya Rejects Presence of France Soldiers in Fight against ISIS

Libya Rejects Presence of France Soldiers in Fight against ISIS
Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:14:49

Libya’s internationally recognized government has denied media reports that French Special Forces are engaged in covert military operations against ISIS terrorists in the North African state.

Government spokesman Hatem el-Ouraybi said on Thursday the recognized government “didn’t allow and won’t allow any foreign forces to enter Libyan territories.”

“Our brave soldiers in the Arab Libyan Armed Forces are the ones who freed Benghazi from the hand of terror without any support from the international community,” he said.

He was reacting to a report by France’s Le Monde newspaper on Wednesday that French special forces and members of the DGSE external security service were in Libya for “clandestine operations” in cooperation with the US and Britain.

The newspaper also said the French intelligence had “initiated” a previous airstrike last November that killed the top leader of the Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) Takfiri militant group, Abu Nabil, in Libya.

Wanis Bukhamada, Special Forces commander in the recognized government army, also denied the Le Monde report and said “only Libyans are the ones who fought terrorism in Benghazi.”

However, the prime minister of the government in Tripoli, Khalifa Ghweil, unrecognized by the international community, confirmed that French Special Forces “were leading the fight in Benghazi.”

Following the release of the Le Monde report, French officials said they had launched a probe into a possible leak of classified documents.

“The investigation should establish if details covered by defense secrecy rules were revealed in this article,” a source close to French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

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