Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


US air strike on Libya goes horribly wrong

21 February 2016, 09:05

Belgrade - A US air strike in Libya believed to have killed an Islamic State group operative behind the mass murder of tourists on a Tunisian beach also killed two kidnapped Serbian embassy employees, Belgrade said on Saturday.

The Friday attack, which has been condemned by Libya's internationally recognised government, targeted a jihadist training camp near the Libyan coastal city of Sabratha, killing dozens of people.

But Belgrade said the victims of the strike also included two employees from its embassy in Libya, who were taken hostage on November 8 in Sabratha from a convoy of cars heading to the Tunisian border.

US officials said the raid likely killed Noureddine Chouchane, also known as "Sabir," who along with other jihadists had been planning attacks against American and other Western interests.

Chouchane is suspected of being behind both the beach attack in July 2015 near the Tunisian city of Sousse that killed 38 tourists, including 30 Britons, and an attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis that killed 21 tourists and a policeman in March 2015.

Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group.

"It has just been officially confirmed that two Serbian citizens who were foreign ministry employees, Sladjana Stankovic and Jovica Stepic, were killed," Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told reporters.

"They were killed by explosions, obviously we are talking about American bombs," he said, expressing "deepest condolences" to the families.

"This is the first big hostage crisis that our state has been faced with. Our people would have been released had they not been killed," insisted Vucic.

US violated airspace

A Pentagon spokesperson said they were still assessing the results of the strike and would "make further statements if and when appropriate".

"We are aware of the reports, but, at this time, have no indications that confirm this reporting," she said, referring to Belgrade's announcement.

Also read: US warplanes hit multiple IS targets in Libya

Libya's internationally recognised government in the far east of the country issued a statement saying the US attack was not coordinated with the authorities and was "a clear and flagrant violation of sovereignty of the Libyan state".

The Serbian premier said the bodies of Stankovic, the embassy's communications chief, and her driver Stepic were expected to be repatriated on Monday.

Sabratha, which lies 70km west of Tripoli, is considered a stronghold of extremism in lawless Libya, where militants are trained in jihadist camps before launching deadly attacks in other countries.

The country spiralled into chaos after longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi was ousted and killed in October 2011, with two governments vying for power and armed groups battling to control vast energy resources.

Belgrade maintains an embassy in Tripoli, and Serbian citizens - mostly doctors, other medical staff and construction workers - have been working in Libya for decades due to close bilateral relations during Kadhafi's regime.

ISIS training in Libya

The Pentagon estimates that around 5 000 ISIS fighters are in Libya, and Friday's strike was the second US air raid in the past three months targeting the fast-expanding group in the North African country.

A statement from the Tripoli-based general prosecutor said that one of those wounded in the US strike had confirmed that he and the others killed in the raid were IS members.

The wounded man said they "came to Libya to train and then carry out terrorist attacks in Tunis", the prosecutor's statement said.

Meanwhile, the Russian foreign ministry expressed its condolences to the families of the killed Serbs, and urged "the United States and other NATO countries to carefully select their targets, the way Russian aircraft do in Syria".

Vucic said Washington was probably unaware that the Serbian hostages were held at the bombed location, "but it will remain unknown".

He said relations with the United States were "historically not easy", referring to the 11-week bombing campaign by NATO against Serbia in 1999 during the Kosovo war.

"I am not ready... to strain and worsen relations with the United States because we need them as a friend and partner, not as an enemy," he added.



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...