US weighs options as IS presence soars in Libya

Forces loyal to Libya's Islamist-backed parliament General National Congress (GNC) are shown in a file picture during fighting with Islamic State (IS) group jihadists on the outskirts of SirteIslamic State fighters have streamed into Libya in recent months, a US official said Thursday, heightening fears the extremists are gaining ground and influence in the north African country. About 5,000 IS jihadists are now in Libya, the defense official said, approximately double earlier estimates, while the number of IS extremists in Iraq and Syria has dropped. The updated tallies come as the administration of President Barack Obama faces growing calls for the US military to step up action against the IS group in Libya, where the jihadists have already seized the city of Sirte and an adjoining length of Mediterranean coastline.

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