US air strike kills 17 in Libya

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US forces killed 17 suspected militants in a third air strike in a week on southern Libya.

The strike, last Tuesday, hit south-western Libya, US Africa Command said in a statement, without giving an exact location. Residents of Sebha heard an explosion to the south.

Two separate air strikes killed 19 suspected militants in southern Libya, the US military previously said.

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

The United States will not allow militants to use a conflict between eastern and western-based factions around Tripoli to protect themselves.

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