CIA Poised to Expand Drone Strikes in Libya

CIA Poised to Expand Drone Strikes in Libya

Tuesday, 11 September, 2018 - 05:00
A US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone takes off from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Josh Smith/File Photo
Washington - Asharq Al-Awsat
The CIA is poised to conduct secret drone strikes against al-Qaeda and ISIS militants in Libya from a newly expanded air base in Niger, US officials have said.

Nigerian and American officials said the CIA had been flying drones on surveillance missions for several months from a corner of a small commercial airport in Dirkou that lies in northeastern Niger.

According to reports, satellite imagery shows that the airport has grown significantly since February to include a new taxiway, walls and security posts.

“All I know is they’re American,” Niger’s interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, said in an interview. He offered few other details about the drones.

Dirkou’s mayor, Boubakar Jerome, said the drones had helped improve the town’s security.

The drone strikes make an aggressive use of powers that were scaled back during the Obama administration and restored by President Donald Trump.

The military launches its MQ-9 Reaper drones from a bases in Niamey, Niger’s capital, 800 miles southwest of Dirkou, said the reports.

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