• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
France 'in secret war against Isis in Libya'
Chief of Staff of the French Army General Pierre de Villiers. Photo: AFP

France 'in secret war against Isis in Libya'

The Local · 24 Feb 2016, 13:44

Published: 24 Feb 2016 13:44 GMT+01:00

Officially, France is only fighting Isis in Syria and Iraq by using its air force to drop bombs, but French daily Le Monde claimed on Wednesday that in fact the country has secretly opened up a front in Libya.

France and other European countries have long been concerned by the growing Isis threat in Libya, but Paris has repeatedly said that operations in the country are unlikely.

But Le Monde presents a very different picture.

The newspaper says French special forces have been operating in the east of the country since mid-February.

As well as highly trained French soldiers operating in secret, Le Monde also says members of the DGSE, France’s external intelligence service are undertaking clandestine missions.

The aim of the secret ops, in which the British and Americans are also taking part, is to try to weaken Isis by taking out its main figures.

“The last thing we want to do is intervene in Libya. We need to avoid open military engagement, so we must act discreetly,” a senior military source told the newspaper.

In the wake of the revelations, the country’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves le Drian was far from happy and has launched an investigation into the “compromising of national defence secrets”, according to Le Point magazine.

If Le Monde’s sources are found and tried, they could face up to three years in jail.

However Le Drian himself said in January that Islamic State fighters hiding among refugees travelling from Libya to Italy pose a "major risk" to Europe.

"Daesh (Isis) is installing itself," Le Drian told French TV, using the Arabic acronym for the Isis group. "I have been very worried about Libya since September 2014. They are there, nearly 300 kilometres from the coast, and they are spreading."

Story continues below…

Isis have known to be reinforcing their positions in Libya, particularly around Sirte. There have been reports of Isis fighters quitting Syria and Iraq, where they are targeted by allied bombing raids and heading to Libya.

 

 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Should you really go to the Bayonne Festival?
Men cook as they take part in the traditional "championnat d'omelette aux piments" in Bayonne: Photo: AFP

Should people boycott the Bayonne festival in France because it features bullfighting? Many think so.

Le Thought du Jour
Sorry Donald Trump, but 'France IS still France'
Photo: AFP

Donald Trump reckons 'France is no longer France', because his friend said so. We don't agree.

France to create new National Guard 'to protect its citizens'
Photo: AFP

France will soon have its own National Guard the president announced on Thursday as he aims to boost security to protect the French population facing repeated terror attacks.

French teens storm police barracks in hunt for Pokemon
Photo: AFP

The arrival of Pokemon Go in France has landed people in all sorts of trouble.

Corsican militants warn 'Islamist radicals' over attacks
Photo: AFP

Militants warn violent extremists that any attack would be met by a "determined response".

Shareholders revolt sees French exec's pay slashed
Photo: AFP

Renault cuts its CEO's salary after a revolt from shareholders.

Priest killing: 'France was warned about attack threat'
French political leaders attend a memorial mass for the slain priest. Photo: AFP

French authorities had reportedly been warned that the second terrorist behind Tuesday's cold-blooded murder of a priest was ready to act.

Fêtes de Bayonne
France's wildest festival gets underway amid tight security
Festival goers in Bayonne - a sea of red and white. Photo: AFP

Over the coming days around a million revellers are expected at what is arguably the wildest, most raucous and most colourful event in France.

Media in France pull photos of jihadists to stop 'glorification'
Many media in France will stop publishing photos of the likes of Toulouse gunman Mohamed Merah (above).

Mainstream media in France decide to stop publishing photos of jihadists behind terror attacks to avoid giving them the notoriety and glory they seek.

France could cancel summer events over terror fears
Photo: AFP

Summer events in towns and villages across France could be cancelled if there is a lack of security.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
France: A timeline of terror since the Charlie Hebdo attack
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
A timeline of terror in France since Charlie Hebdo
Culture
Thirteen free and easy ways to learn French
Culture
32 mistakes foreigners make when they arrive in France
National
Here are the worst scams to avoid whilst driving in France
Analysis & Opinion
Isis can simply be a conduit for the violent desires of psychopaths
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
Politics
Boris Johnson cheered and booed at Bastille Day party
2,759
jobs available