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U.S. says it killed four IS militants in Libya strike

TUNIS (Reuters) - The United States said on Wednesday it had conducted a precision air strike near the Libyan town of Bani Walid, killing four Islamic State militants.

The strike was carried out in coordination with the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, a statement from U.S. Africa Command said.

“At this time, we assess no civilians were killed in this strike,” the statement said. It gave no information on the identity of those targeted.

Photos shared by a local source in Bani Walid showed a white all-terrain vehicle that he said had been hit in the strike. The vehicle was streaked with blood and the roof and one of the sides had been shredded.

One of those killed in the strike was Abd al-Aati Ashtaiwy, a Libyan who had traveled to Syria and had previously been based in Sirte, which Islamic State controlled from 2015-2016, according to the Bani Walid source and local reports.

The United States gave air support to Libyan forces that drove Islamic State from Sirte in 2016, and has continued to launch occasional strikes against suspected militants in Libya since the end of that campaign.

Bani Walid is about 150 km (93 miles) south of Tripoli.

Reporting by Aidan Lewis and Ayman al-Warfalli; Editing by Gareth Jones