Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Serbian embassy workers in Libya airstrike

The Serbian government says two kidnapped Serbian embassy workers were killed during US airstrikes on an Islamic State camp in Libya. Two Serbian embassy workers, kidnapped by the Islamic State in November, were killed alongside dozens of others during Friday’s airstrikes on an IS training camp in Libya, say Serbian officials. The two workers were taken hostage while traveling with a diplomatic convoy to Tunisia. Although Serbia was initially unsure who had kidnapped the communications officer and her driver, the convoy was attacked near the city of Sabratha, where an IS training base was located. According to the Associated Press, Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic was certain that communications officer Sladjana Stankovic and driver Jovica Stepic had been killed in the bombing. Serbian officials say they knew where the hostages were being held and that they had been determining how to free them when the bombing occurred. “I believe we had been close to the solution for them to be freed,” said Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. “Unfortunately, as a consequence of the attack against ISIS in Libya, the two of them lost their lives.” The airstrike by US F-15 fighter jets killed at least 49 people in an effort to destroy an IS camp and kill senior IS operative Noureddine Chouchane, known to the US as Sabir. The Department of Defense was not aware of the Serbians’ presence, a US official told CNN.



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