WASHINGTON, D.C.: President Barack Obama vowed Tuesday not to let the Islamic State build a base in Libya, saying the United State would take action where there was a “clear target.”
“We are working with our other coalition partners to make sure that, as we see opportunities to prevent ISIS from digging in in Libya, we take them,” Obama said, using an acronym for the group.
“We will continue to take actions where we got a clear operation and a clear target in mind.”
The jihadist group has established a base with thousands of fighters in the coastal city of Sirte.
The hometown of late dictator Moamer Kadhafi, the city is a strategic port near oilfields that could provide a lucrative source of income.
“The tragedy of Libya over the last several years is Libya has a relatively small population and a lot of oil wealth, and could be really successful,” said Obama.
Since rebels and Western airpower toppled Kadhafi’s regime in 2011, the country has effectively lacked a government.
In the chaos a disparate group of foreign fighters, homegrown militiamen, tribes and remnants of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group have coalesced around the IS banner and gained a foothold.