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US airstrike in southern Libya kills 17 people

This file photo shows the smoke rising after a US airstrike in Sirte, Libya, on September 28, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

At least 17 people have been killed in a US airstrike in southern Libya in the third such air raid in the North African state in a little more than a week.

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) claims Daesh terrorists were targeted by the Thursday airstrike.

These US airstrikes over the last eight days are the first in Libya in over a year.

An earlier US air raid had killed 11 on Tuesday, and a September 19 attack killed eight. The US military says all those killed were affiliated with Daesh militants.

The United States has been carrying out such airstrikes in several Muslim countries under the pretext of fighting militant groups.

In a Friday statement, the AFRICOM said it did not believe that the recent attack left any civilian casualties, but reports on the ground indicate that civilians are usually the main victims of such attacks.

The Libyan Government of National Accord, based in the northwest of the country, is currently fighting forces led by Khalifa Haftar, a strongman and US citizen who rose to prominence in the northeast of the country amid the civil war that followed the death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The recent US airstrikes, however, have been confined to the sparsely-populated southwest, away from the conflict between Haftar and the Government of National Accord.

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