MQ-9 Reaper drones from Sicily hit Sirte


The Department of Defense announced that MQ-9 Reaper drones launched strikes against the two reported ISIL camps in Libya. The armed Reapers were launched from Sigonella Naval AB Sicily and provided follow-on strikes to the B-2 bombers. Over 80 ISIL militants were killed in the strikes.

[January 21 Drones hit survivors after Whiteman AFB B-2s strike Sirte Libya]

Following the airstrike by B-2s at least one remotely piloted vehicle (MQ-9 Reaper according to some sources, MQ-1 Predator according to others) launched supporting strikes using AGM-114 Hellfire missiles against survivors.

A total of 15 tankers (KC-135 and KC-10) participated in the operation, enabling the B-2s to fly the more than 30 hours round-trip to the target from their home base in Missouri. According to the U.S. Air Force, planners at 18th Air Force and the 618th Air Operations Center at Scott AFB coordinated the tanker mission. The 305th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, was one of the units that contributed tankers to the refueling mission. Then, after crossing the Pond, the B-2s were refueled off Gibraltar by KC-135s belonging to the 100th ARW launched from RAF Mildenhall, UK, whose racetracks could be tracked online by means of ADS-B.

[January 19]


A B-2 Spirit bomber takes off at dawn from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo, April 2, 2014.

Air Force B-2 Spirit stealth bombers from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, conducted precision airstrikes in conjunction with the Libyan Government of National Accord, Jan. 19, 2017 destroying two Daesh camps 45 kilometers southwest of Sirte.
No women or children were in the camps. Dozens of militants were killed in the strikes with more than 100 precision guided munitions dropped. Drones also participated in the strikes . Niger is the only western Africa country to allow military drones, Agadez, Niger, a U.S. strategic outpost puts Libya within range of MQ-9 Reaper drones. Whiteman AFB is located approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Knob Noster, MO.


5,839 miles from Whiteman to Sirte

[November 9 2016 San Antonio-based Bell AH-1W SuperCobras strike in Sirte ]

marine helicopter

An AH-1W SuperCobra from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit takes off from the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) the recent replacement in the role of the US Navy’s (USN’s) USS Wasp landing platform dock (LHD-1) on 27 October to conduct precision air strikes in support of Libyan Government of National Accord-aligned forces

As noted by the USN on 3 November, San Antonio-based Bell AH-1W SuperCobras of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) have been conducting precision airstrikes against the Islamic State, and in support of Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA)-aligned forces, in Sirte as part of Operation ‘Odyssey Lightning’. With San Antonio unable to operate the McDonnell-Douglas AV-8B Harrier II strike jets of Wasp, the mission of hitting Islamic State targets in and around the Libyan port city of Sirte has now fallen primarily to the SuperCobra helicopter gunship.

[November 3 U.S. drones southeast of Gabes Tunisia? ]


Defense officials said the Pentagon has deployed about 70 military personnel to Tunisia to oversee drone operations there. Tunisian Air Force has four main bases (Bizerte/Sidi Ahmed, Gafsa, Bizerte/La Karouba and Sfax)
Bizerte-Sidi Ahmed Air Base (ICAO: DTTB) is a Tunisian Air Force base located approximately 7 km west of Menzel Abderhaman, and 9 km west-southwest of Bizerte, rebuilt by the U.S. during WWII in 1943. Remada Air Base (ICAO: DTTD) is a military airport serving Remada in Tunisia.
For lethal strikes in Libya, the U.S. military has relied on manned U.S. aircraft based in Europe and armed drones flown out of Naval Air Station Sigonella on the Italian island of Sicily. Sigonella is relatively close to Sirte, but flights from the base are routinely canceled because of cloud cover over the Mediterranean and other weather-related issues, officials said. U.S. logistical concerns about using Sigonella and other bases­ in Europe for operations in North Africa prompted the Pentagon’s push for a facility on Tunisian soil.
While U.S. surveillance drones have been based in Sigonella since 2011, the Italian government refused to give the U.S. military permission to fly armed drones out of the base until earlier this year, citing concerns about sparking an anti­war backlash at home.

[June 22 2015 Lutfi al-Arabi al-Gharisi and Ridha Ahmad al-Najjar flown from Afghanistan to Tunisia ]

Nov. 15, 2009,  a U.S. captain silhouetted as he looks on cages of Bagram prison

Nov. 15, 2009, a U.S. captain silhouetted as he looks on cages of Bagram prison

Tina Foster, a lawyer for Gharisi and Najjar

A U.S. military cargo plane flew Lutfi al-Arabi al-Gharisi and Ridha Ahmad al-Najjar from Afghanistan to Tunisia on June 15, according to U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a detainee transfer that had not been made public.
The Pentagon June 26 confirmed the transfer of the two men who were being held in Afghan government custody prior to their repatriation by the U.S. military, which said the flight was done in support of the Afghan government.
Two Afghan officials accompanied the prisoners on the flight because it was considered a joint operation.
“These individuals remained under Afghan government control until they were handed over to Tunisian officials, “said Lt. Col. Myles B. Caggins III, a Pentagon spokesman.
Tina Foster, a lawyer for Gharisi and Najjar, said the men had been freed by the Tunisian government. “We work with foreign national prisoners and their loved ones to develop legal, political, and media strategies to advocate for repatriation to the prisoner’s home country.”

[April 1 U.S. ISR platform Beech operated from Pantelleria in Tunisian search for terrorists]

From Mar. 21 to 26, a U.S. Beechcraft King Air 350ER has conducted reconnaissance missions over the western Tunisia regions where jidahist terrorists behind the Bardo Museum attack have been hiding. The civil-registered plane was probably involved in an intelligence gathering mission, the King Air “N351DY” did not turn off its ADS-B transponder and could be clearly tracked on the popular website (as already happened to other U.S. spyplanes over Afghanistan…) as it circled over the Jebel Chambi mountain between 22,500 and 24,500 feet. the aircraft operated from Pantelleria airport, a little Italian island off Tunisia: most probably, deploying the plane to a Tunisian airport was not safe, Sigonella airbase, in Sicily, from where U.S. Global Hawk and Predator and Reaper drone operate, was too far and Pantelleria was chosen as the closest base for the clandestine task.
The plane is the civil version of the MC-12W, an ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) platform operated by the U.S. Air Force and equipped with a full array of sensors, a ground exploitation cell, line-of-sight and satellite communications datalinks, a robust voice communications suite as well as an electro-optical infrared sensor with a laser illuminator and designator.
N351DY Aircraft Logistics Group LLC Oklahoma City 18/03/14
[March 19 Tunisian tourist shooting may have been linked to assassins of Chokri Belaïd and Mohamed Brahmi]

The opposition leader  Mohamed Brahmi was gunned down in his car outside his home in Tunis in 24 July 2013.  The gunman is Boubakr Hakim, a 30-year-old French-born weapons smuggler, known for jihadi sympathies. Mr Brahmi, 58, led the nationalist Movement of the People party.   The family of Mr Brahmi has accused the governing Islamist Ennahda party of being behind the killing.

Mohamed Brahmi opposition leader was gunned down in his car outside his home in Tunis in 24 July 2013. The gunman is Boubakr Hakim, “known for jihadi sympathies.” Mr Brahmi, 58, led the nationalist Movement of the People party. The family of Mr Brahmi has accused the governing Islamist Ennahda party of being behind the killing.

Chokri Belaïd was shot by Kamel Gaghgadh on 6 February 2013 Gaghgadh met with Ansar al-Sharia founder Abu Iyadh at Chaambi Mountain “several times”, according to head of public security Mustapha Taieb Ben Amor.

Killing by Islamic State militants, of 20 foreign tourists at Tunisia’s national museum, may have been linked to the death of Ahmed al-Rouissi, Tunisia’s most-wanted terrorist, who had become a senior leader in Isil’s Libya group. He was reported to have been killed on March 14 in the Libyan city of Sirte, where Isil has established a foothold. His forces were said to have been in combat with fighters from Libya Dawn, a coalition of more moderate Islamists based in the city of Misurata, who are anxious not to let Isil become a rival for power. al-Rouissi, who was high up on the most wanted list in neighbouring Tunisia for his role in the assassination of politicians there, was killed in clashes ; the mastermind of the murders of left-wing politicians Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi and other attacks in the country. Brahmi, a member of the Arab nationalist Popular Front party, was shot 11 times outside his home in Tunis in front of his wife and children in summer last year. Belaid, the former leader of the Popular Front, was gunned down triggering violent protests that led to the resignation of Islamist Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali.

[May 22 2013 Tunisia: payments by SNC to husband of Dorsaf Ben Ali, a daughter from Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, ex-president’s first marriage, to Na’ima el-Kafy]

Dorsaf Ben Ali, a daughter from Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, ex-president's first marriage, to Na'ima el-Kafy (1964–1988)

Dorsaf Ben Ali, a daughter from Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, ex-president’s first marriage, to Na’ima el-Kafy (1964–1988)

Newly unsealed information in an RCMP search warrant document alleges that SNC-Lavalin paid nearly $6-million to the son-in-law of Tunisia’s president between 2001 and 2010 to win contracts in the North African country.

“The payments were destined for offshore companies belonging to Slim Chiboub,” the police affidavit says. “According to public-source information, the payments in question were made at a period when a variety of major contracts were awarded to SNC-Lavalin in Tunisia.”

Mr. Chiboub, a businessman, is married to the oldest daughter of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the autocratic president who was toppled in a January 2011 uprising. Mr. Chiboub fled to the United Arab Emirates after the revolution.

Swiss authorities uncovered the Tunisian payments as part of an investigation into corruption and money laundering, the affidavit says.

Businessman married to Dorsaf Ben Ali, a daughter from the ex-president’s first marriage, to Na’ima el-Kafy (1964–1988), has had his assets frozen along with his wife’s. Chiboub, who until the revolution chaired the Esperance football club, has denied any illegal enrichment. He is now believed to be based in Qatar, making frequent visits to Paris. He told the Tunisian media in an interview last July that he hoped to return to the country “once spirits are calmer”. In February Tunisia’s official horse-breeding foundation said it had “recovered’, with the help of the security services 130 thoroughbreds that had been in Chiboub’s possession.

[April 23 2012]

Anis Mahmoud

Anis Mahmoud

Wajdi Chortani, the general director of Enco Group, a Tunisian construction and engineering company, said a series of meetings with SNC officials, among them Anis Mahmoud, Mr. Ben Aissa’s right-hand man on SNC’s big North African projects, ensued. Mr. Chortani said he never met Mr. Ben Aissa.

Sensing stalling tactics when he tried to nail down the contract, Mr. Chortani grew frustrated. He said he had a one-on-one meeting with Mr. Mahmoud on Feb. 3. During the meeting, Mr. Mahmoud asked him for 160,000 dinars (about $100,000 Canadian), he alleged. Speaking through an interpreter, he said he understood that the amount would be “cash money, [paid] directly to Mahmoud.”

Mr. Chortani said he did not agree or disagree to pay the amount. At a meeting last month, Mr. Chortani said, Mr. Mahmoud told him, “You will not be able to work on this [project] unless you meet my conditions.”

Mr. Chortani said he never got the contract and is suing SNC in Tunisia an effort to recoup the expenses related to preparing the bid.

Riadh Ben Aissa, former chief executive of SNC-Lavalin in North Africa, would nvite Saadi Gaddafi to Canada for his honeymoon. “The link is Tunisian,”

“Riadh Ben Aissa meant Saadi. It was the same. They worked together, ”

Mr. Ben Aissa had entrusted to his right arm, Mahmoud Anis, site management of the airport in Benghazi.

Mr. Mahmoud is still responsible for the division of SNC-Lavalin in Tunis.


About huecri

Publishing on the Web is a fairly iterative process. ...NYT ...Not too long ago, reporters were the guardians of scarce facts delivered at an appointed time to a passive audience. Today we are the managers of an overabundance of information and content, discovered, verified and delivered in partnership with active communities. summer 2012 issue of Nieman Reports from Harvard, --- THE FIX by Chris Cillizza, WAPO blogger, quoting Matt Drudge: “We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices,” he said in the speech. “Every citizen can be a reporter.” Later, he added: “The Net gives as much voice to a 13 year old computer geek like me as to a CEO or Speaker of the House. "
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