The head of the U.S. Africa Command said on Wednesday that Washington is “very carefully” watching what he described as “nascent” Islamic State (ISIS) training camps in Libya.
At the same time, Fox News reported, General David Rodriguez downplayed the threat posed by these training camps.
Rodriguez said in a Pentagon press briefing that it is his belief that the camps may be made up of local militias that are trying to get on the map by working “the ISIS label.”
“We don’t have enough information to know how serious they are,” he said.
Rodriguez added that he could not provide any evidence that people had migrated to these camps from Iraq or Syria, where the group is active.
ISIS is already known to have a presence in Libya, where it has an affiliate by the name Ansar al-Sharia which several months ago declared authority over the coastal city of Darna.
An academic blog presented evidence back in 2013 which reveals that jihadi entities, such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar al-Sharia, are holding training camps in Libya.
In his press conference on Wednesday, Rodriguez also said that the United States is still actively searching for the perpetrators of the Benghazi attack, which killed four Americans in 2012. He said the U.S. is doing so “without any people on the ground.”
Washington already has a suspect in custody, Ahmed Abu Khattala who was captured in June by and brought to the United States to face trial. Khattala is a leader of Ansar al-Sharia. He has previously denied any connection to the Benghazi attack and has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges.