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Obama vows to counter IS in Libya

US president meets with National Security Council to discuss military action against IS outside Iraq and Syria
File photo shows US President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama on Thursday said the United States would attack the Islamic State (IS) group beyond Iraq and Syria if necessary, as he signaled an increased focus on Libya.

Amid fears that a power vacuum in the North African nation has provided fertile ground for IS to grow, Obama convened his National Security Council to discuss the issue.

Obama "was briefed on ways we and our partners in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL continue to accelerate and integrate the military campaign and diplomatic efforts on all possible fronts," the White House said following the meeting, using an alternative acronym for IS.

"The President emphasied that the United States will continue to counter ISIL terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary ... The President directed his national security team to continue efforts to strengthen governance and support ongoing counterterrorism efforts in Libya and other countries where ISIL has sought to establish a presence."

Libya has been in political turmoil and rocked by violence since the overthrow of longtime dictator Moammer Gaddafi in 2011. NATO air strikes supported the rebels.

Libya now has two governments and parliaments, with the recognised authorities based in the eastern city of Tobruk and a militia-backed authority in Tripoli.

World powers have urged Libya's warring factions to endorse the unity government formed last week under a UN-brokered deal aimed at ending the political paralysis that has fueled the rise of IS.


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