US says UAE bombed Libya Islamists as turmoil deepens
UAE warplanes secretly bombed Islamist militia targets in Libya, apparently catching Washington off guard, as turmoil in the North African country deepened with the Islamists naming a rival premier.
American officials said on Aug. 25 that the United Arab Emirates' jets launched two attacks in seven days on the Islamists in Tripoli using bases in Egypt.
The strikes signalled a step toward direct action by regional Arab states that previously have fought proxy wars in Libya, Syria and Iraq in a struggle for power and influence.
The bombing raids were first reported by The New York Times, and Islamist forces in Libya had also alleged the strikes had taken place.
"The UAE carried out those strikes," one American official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Asked about the account, a senior US official said "the report is accurate".
The United States did not take part or provide any assistance in the bombing raids, said the two officials, who could not confirm that Egypt and the UAE had left Washington totally in the dark about the attacks.
The first strikes took place on Monday last week focusing on targets in Tripoli held by the militias, including a small weapons depot, according to the Times. Six people were killed in the bombing.
A second round was conducted south of the city early Saturday targeting rocket launchers, military vehicles and a warehouse, the newspaper said.
Those strikes may have been a bid to prevent the capture of the airport, but the Islamist militia forces eventually prevailed and seized it despite the air attacks.
The UAE -- which has spent...