US Africa Command on Monday ended its support for the Libyan Government of National Accord after conducting 495 airstrikes in an effort to drive ISIS from the city of Sirte. Operation Odyssey Lightning began on Aug. 1 as ISIS took over the seaside city. US aircraft, mainly US Marine Corps jets on the USS Wasp and remotely piloted aircraft, flew regular airstrikes as Libyan troops moved from neighborhood to neighborhood to clear the city. While the official operation has concluded, US Africa Command said in a statement it will still work with the Libyan government to counter the “evolving threat” of ISIS in the country. AFRICOM’s announcement came one day after the Libyan government officially said ISIS was expelled from Sirte, though officials warned the fighting was not completely over in the country.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.