Serbia: 2 hostages killed in U.S. airstrikes in Libya

BELGRADE, Serbia — Two Serbian Embassy staffers held hostage since November died in Friday's U.S. airstrikes on an Islamic State camp in western Libya that killed dozens, Serbian officials said Saturday, questioning why the Americans did not appear to know that foreign captives were at the site.

A U.S. official said American forces had "no information indicating that their deaths were a result" of the airstrikes.

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said there was no doubt that Sladjana Stankovic, a communications officer, and Jovica Stepic, a driver, were killed in the American bombing. They were snatched in November after their diplomatic convoy, including the ambassador, came under fire near the coastal Libyan city of Sabratha.

"Apparently the Americans were not aware that foreign citizens were being kept there," Vucic told reporters, adding: "But that will always remain an unknown fact to us."

American F-15E fighter-bombers on Friday struck an Islamic State group training camp in rural Libya near the Tunisian border, killing at least 40 people, probably including an Islamic State operative considered responsible for deadly attacks in Tunisia last year, U.S. and local officials said.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the U.S. is determined to stop the extremist group from "gaining traction" in Libya. Cook said the training camp was "relatively new."

"Our forces watched this training camp for weeks leading up to the operation, and at the time of the strike there were no indications of any civilians present," Cook said. — AP

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. And share with us - we love to hear eyewitness accounts.

You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.