There was considerable mirth on social media last week when the United States Africa command (Africom) denied carrying out an airstrike targeting Al Qaeda in southwest Libya – despite the internationally recognised government in Tripoli appearing to claim their American partners had been involved in some sort of raid.
Mohamed Sallak, a spokesman for the Government of National Accord (GNA), had said that a joint US-Libyan operation hit an alleged Al Qaeda cell near the town on Ubari, deep in Libya’s southwestern desert. It was rare for the Libyan government to make the announcement before the US, and while the militants’ names and nationalities remain unknown.
Africom, which usually takes public credit for airstrikes in Libya, said it had not been involved. The incident was seized upon by detractors of the GNA as further evidence of its incompetency.