The U.S. Marine Corps is deploying a time-tested weapon against the Islamic State terrorist group as it tries to hunker down in urban areas: Cobra attack helicopters.
AFRICOM has confirmed for the first time that the versatile aircraft were used over the weekend “at the request of, and in coordination with, the Libyan Government of National Accord.” Nine strikes took place between Friday and Sunday over the city of Sirte.
AH-1Z Super Cobra/Viper have been deployed in every major U.S. operation since Vietnam. The aircraft can fire multiple missiles and rockets. It also unleashes 20mm cannon fire at targets too dangerous for other platforms.
The Islamic State is in “the densest, most built-up part of the city,” an official speaking on condition of anonymity told The Washington Post Monday. “[The AH-1] is a platform that lends itself well to that kind of mission.”
The strikes are a part of Operation Odyssey Lighting, which began Aug. 1 with the support of Libya’s fragile government. Libya’s parliament, however, gave GNA a vote of “no confidence” Monday, Military Times reported.
Defense officials estimated at least 6,000 Islamic State fighters were operating inside Libya at the start of Operation Odyssey Lighting. Several hundred terrorists are said to have retreated into Sirte.
Source: Washington Times