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US airstrike killed two Serbian hostages in Libya

20 February 2016 17:16


Two Serbian embassy staff members abducted in Libya last November were killed in a US airstrike in the North African country on Friday, Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic says.

“Unfortunately as a consequence of this attack on Daesh in Libya, the two of them lost their lives,” Dacic told reporters in Belgrade on Saturday, referring to the embassy staff members who were being held hostage.

The victims were identified as embassy communications chief Sladjana Stankovic and her driver Jovica Stepic.

They had been abducted in the coastal city of Sabratha, located 70 kilometers (42 miles) west of Tripoli, on November 8 last year, when militants launched a surprise attack on their diplomatic convoy.

On Friday, US military aircraft struck a house in the western Qasr Talil district of Sabratha. Local officials said 43 people were killed in the airstrike, and that the building housed foreigners, including Tunisian Daesh-linked militants.

Libyans stand next to a crater and debris at the site of a suspected Daesh training camp, targeted in a US airstrike, near Sabratha, Feb. 19, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The Pentagon said a Tunisian-born militant, whom it identified as Noureddine Chouchane, was killed in the aerial attack. He was wanted by Tunisia for his role in two deadly attacks last year, in which dozens of tourists lost their lives.

While US military officials said Chouchane is most likely dead, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he could not yet confirm the results of the airstrike.

Libya has been struggling with instability since 2011, when the country’s then dictator Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown. Armed militia have been fighting one another since then.

A UN-backed government of national unity is awaiting parliamentary approval. It has yet to establish itself in the capital Tripoli.

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