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'No need for foreign troops on Libyan soil,' Libya PM says

Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said he had only requested US airstrikes in the fight against IS - and that foreign troops are not needed
Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj (C) arriving in Misrata to visit the headquarters of the military command operation to retake Sirte (AFP)
The head of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) said on Wednesday the country did not need foreign troops on the ground in the fight against the Islamic State group.
"We do not need foreign troops on Libyan soil," Fayez al-Sarraj said in an interview with Italy's Corriere della Sera daily.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that American special operations troops have for the first time started directly supporting Libyan forces battling the Islamic State (IS) group in their key stronghold of Sirte.
"Our men can manage alone once they have cover from the air. I only asked for US air strikes which must be very precise and limited in time and geographical scope, always carried out in coordination with us," he said.
Pro-GNA forces have been engaged in a military operation since 12 May to retake the coastal city located 450 kilometres east of Tripoli. Sirte has been a stronghold of the IS group since June last year.
The United States has since last Monday been carrying out air raids on IS positions in the city at the GNA's request.
According to the Post, the US forces are operating alongside British troops, and are helping to coordinate American air strikes and providing intelligence to partner forces.
MEE has previously revealed details of British special forces fighting on the frontlines against IS in Libya, as well as reports of French, British and American planes operating in Libyan air space as part of the country's civil war. 
Sarraj warned IS "will use any means possible to send its militants to Italy and Europe" and said he "would not be at all surprised to discover that its men hide out on boats" of migrants headed for the Italian coast.
Rome has authorised the US to use its bases and air space for strikes against IS in Libya.
The head of the GNA said he "may go to Russia soon", adding that his government had "good relations" with Moscow, but without providing further details on the possible trip.

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