Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Paris denies French press reports of US commandos operating in southern Libya
Posted by Charleston Voice
By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 2 February 2014:
The Foreign Ministry in Paris has vigorously denied that any French military source had stated that US commandos were operating covertly in southern Libya. It said that a report of the secret operations, carried in Saturday’s edition of the daily Le Figaro, which cited a military source in France, was completely untrue.
The Figaro article had claimed that members of the elite US Delta Force, masquerading as nomads and working with Libyan special forces, had entered southern Libya at the end of last year in an undercover search and destroy mission targeting Al-Qaeda.
“The information published in a Figaro article dated 1 February is unfounded. It did not emanate from French military sources,” a Foreign Ministry statement said. It added: “No foreign military intervention is being considered in southern Libya. Libya is a sovereign and independent country.
Citing “a diplomatic source in Tunis”, Le Figaro had also claimed that US forces were stationed at a secret military base in Tataouine governorate in the south of Tunisia, near the Libyan border.
The allegations have drawn similar strong denials from the US and Tunisian authorities.
Despite an article last November in the usually authoritative Paris magazine Jeune Afrique also stating that there was a US base at the town of Remada, 70 kilometres south of Tataouine, and, the following month, a similar claim in an Algerian newspaper, the reports have generally been received with considerable scepticism – mainly on the basis that it would be almost impossible to hide an Amercian base next to a town of over 5,000 inhabitants.