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U.S. air strike kills 11 in southern Libya - U.S. military

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CAIRO (Reuters) – U.S. forces said on Wednesday they had killed 11 suspected militants linked to Islamic State in their second air strike near the southern Libyan town of Murzuq in less than a week.

The attack, carried out on Tuesday, followed a Sept. 19 strike that the U.S. said had killed eight suspected militants.

“This air strike was conducted to eliminate ISIS terrorists and deny them the ability to conduct attacks on the Libyan people,” Major General William Gayler, director of operations for U.S. Africa Command, said in a statement.

Some Islamic State militants retreated south into Libya’s desert as the group lost its stronghold in the coastal city of Sirte at the end of 2016.

The U.S. has said it will not allow militants to use a conflict between eastern and western-based factions around the capital Tripoli to protect themselves.

Eastern-based forces led by Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to capture Tripoli in April, upending U.N.-led plans to broker a political settlement in Libya.

(Reporting by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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