US considers positioning drones in North Africa to deal with ISIL

drones-3The United States is considering positioning drones at a base in North Africa, in a bid to intensify surveillance of ISIL terrorist group operations in Libya.

This is according to a report by Reuters, which cites a senior administration official, who spoke with the Wall Street Journal.

Washington was said to be holding discussions about the plan with several North African countries.

The report said drone flights would give U.S. military and intelligence agencies real-time information on the group’s activities in Libya.

The unnamed U.S. official is reported to have said that such a base near ISIL strongholds in the African country, would give the U.S. a better understanding of events happening in the region.

The report, however, said no North African country had yet agreed to offer access to a base.

“Right now, what we are trying to do is address some real intelligence challenges,” a senior administration official said. A base in North Africa close to Islamic State strongholds in Libya would help the U.S. “fill gaps in our understanding of what’s going on” there, the official added.

The quest for a base represents an acknowledgment that the extremist group has managed to enlarge its area of influence even while under U.S. and allied bombardment in Iraq and Syria.

Islamic State has claimed a number of attacks in North Africa recently, including the killing of dozens of foreign tourists at a Tunisian beach resort last month. The attacker may have trained in Libya with a militant group sympathetic to Islamic State.

Drone flights from the base would provide the U.S. military and spy agencies with real time intelligence on Islamic State activities in Libya.

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