CONTINUING COVERAGE: FLOODS OF 2016

U.S. Launches Airstrikes on ISIS Targets in Libya

The United States has expanded its airstrikes against ISIS into Libya, bombing targets in the coastal city of Sirte, U.S. officials said Monday.

The attacks mark the beginning of an ongoing U.S. air campaign in Libya, a Pentagon spokesman said.

The U.S. airstrikes came at the request of the Libyan Government of National Accord, or GNA, to support forces trying to quash ISIS in its primary stronghold in Libya, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said. The GNA is Libya’s U.N.-backed unity government.

“GNA-aligned forces have had success in recapturing territory from ISIL thus far around Sirte, and additional U.S. strikes will continue to target ISIL in Sirte in order to enable the GNA to make a decisive, strategic advance,” Cook said, using another acronym for ISIS.

“The U.S. stands with the international community in supporting the GNA as it strives to restore stability and security to Libya. These actions and those we have taken previously will help deny ISIL a safe haven in Libya from which it could attack the United States and our allies.”

The White House said President Barack Obama authorized the airstrikes at the recommendation of Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

“The President’s been clear that he will deny any safe haven for groups like ISIL or any group that tries to do us harm,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. “The strikes you’ve seen are consistent with that approach.”

It was not immediately clear how many ISIS militants or structures may have been hit.

CNN’s Barbara Starr, Michelle Kosinski and Ross Levitt contributed to this report.