Efforts to stem the flow of Islamic Staterecruits into Syria and Iraq have been met by an increase in foreign extremists heading to Libya instead, Barack Obama has warned.
Just days after describing the failure to prevent extremists filling a power vacuum in Libya as the “worst mistake” of his presidency, Obama’s remarks underline growing White House anxiety about the foothold gained by Isis in the country.
“As we, and our foreign allies and partners, have made it harder for foreign terrorists to reach Syria and Iraq, we have seen an uptick in the number of Isis fighters heading to Libya,” Obama told reporters at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, after a meeting with intelligence chiefs intended to review US strategy against the terror group.
General David Rodriguez, commander of US Africa command, revealed earlier this week that US intelligence estimates now suggest the number of Isis fighters in Libya has doubled in the past year to between 4,000 and 6,000.
“We are going to continue to use the full range of our tools to roll Isil back from Libya while insisting the new, nascent Libyan government works to secure their country,” insisted Obama on Wednesday, using an alternative name for Islamic State.