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France’s ‘secret war’ on Islamic State

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France has reportedly waged a covert and “unofficial” war on senior Islamic State figures in Libya.

Special forces operatives and intelligence officers from France, in conjunction with the United States and Britain, have been engaged in covert operations in the north African nation, according to France’s Le Monde newspaper.

French president Francois Hollande authorised the “unofficial” action, according to Reuters.

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The operations included occasional airstrikes on targeted IS leaders and discreet action on the ground. 

France’s defence ministry would not comment or confirm the reports, but sources told Le Monde that an investigation was underway into a leak.

The ministry previously confirmed that France had carried out reconnaissance flights over Libya.

Dozens of people were killed at the Bataclan. Photo: Getty
Dozens of people were killed at the Bataclan. Photo: Getty

France has an “advance military base” on Niger’s border with Libya.

Mr Hollande declared his country to be at war with IS after the November 13 Paris attacks on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and soccer stadium that killed 130 people.

Le Monde reported that bloggers had written about sightings of French special forces in eastern Libya since mid-February.

US fighter jets struck an IS training camp in Libya last Friday in attacks that killed nearly 50 people.

Two of those were Serbian embassy employees abducted last November, according to Serbia’s prime minister.

US officials said the site housed up to 60 IS militants, including the Tunisian Noureddine Chouchane, wanted for two attacks on tourists in 2015 in Tunisia which killed dozens.

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