Libya: Unclear if US strikes killed al-Qaida leader

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2013 file photo, Algerian soldiers and officials stand in front of the gas plant in Ain Amenas, seen in background, during a visit organized by the Algerian authorities for news media. The U.S. said the military launched an airstrike Saturday, June 13, 2015, targeting an al-Qaida leader in eastern Libya who has been charged with leading the attack on the gas plant in Algeria in 2013 that killed 35 hostages, including three Americans. The Libyan government and U.S. officials said warplanes targeted and likely killed Mokhtar BelMokhtar and several others. (AP Photo, File)

CAIRO (AP) — The military spokesman of the internationally-recognized Libyan government says three foreigners were among 17 killed in U.S. airstrikes in eastern Libya, adding that it is too early to determine if an al-Qaida-linked militant leader was among them.

Algerian militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar was earlier reported killed by the Libyan government, which is based in the country’s east.

Pentagon officials said the strike successfully hit its target. U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James confirmed Monday that the target was an al-Qaida-linked leader, but said the results of the raid are still being studied.

Libyan military spokesman Maj. Mohammed Hegazi tells The Associated Press two foreign militant leaders and a Tunisian fighter were killed. He says tests are needed to determine if Belmokhtar is among them.

Libya is split between two rival governments.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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