UPDATE 1-Aircraft strike Libya’s Sabratha city, 40 killed – local official
Anti-Gaddafi fighters fire a multiple rocket launcher near Sirte, September 24, 2011. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

TRIPOLI:  Warplanes carried out air strikes early on Friday morning in the western Libyan city of Sabratha, killing as many as 40 people, the city’s mayor said.

The New York Times, citing a Western official, said U.S. jets carried out the attack.

Hussein al-Thwadi told Reuters the planes struck at 3.30 a.m. (0130 GMT), hitting a building in the Qasr Talil district in which foreign workers were living. He said 41 people had been killed and six wounded. The death toll could not immediately be confirmed with other officials.

Sabratha is near the Tunisian border, and it is also one of the areas where Western officials say Islamic State militants had some presence as part of their expansion in the North African state.

The gunmen who carried out attacks at a Tunis museum and a beach hotel last year, killing dozens of people, all trained at militant camps in Libya before returning to their home country.

The Western official cited by the New York Times said Friday’s air strikes targeted a senior Tunisian operative linked to both of last year’s attacks, which were claimed by Islamic State.

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