Pictures posted on Facebook by the Libyan Air Force have revealed that the United States is conducting a secret commando mission to Libya. The Libyan Air Force stated that 20 United States soldiers arrived at the Wattiya Airbase in Libya on Monday. The soldiers were soon asked to leave because they were not permitted to be at the base. It is unknown which branch of the Libyan military authorized the mission.

Officials from the Pentagon have confirmed that the Special Forces unit was sent this week as a part of a mission. According to the Facebook post, the 20 American soldiers arrived combat ready, sporting bulletproof jackets and advanced weaponry. Pictures show the Americans posing in the sunshine with soldiers from Libya. Other photos include the American troops getting on board a passenger plane and driving a dune buggy.

The Wattiya Airbase is relatively close to the Islamic State’s western Libyan base near Sabratha. This has largely fueled the speculation that the United States is planning to launch air strikes against the terrorist organization. The United States has not deployed Special Forces troops to Libya since July of 2014, when Delta Force commandos seized Ahmed Abu Khattala for his role in killing United States ambassador Chris Stevens.

Wattiya is one of the largest airbases in all of Libya. It is separated from the ISIS base only by vast desert. Libya is currently plagued by civil war, with the country being split between two rival governments. A coalition of Muslim and Misratan forces seized the capital city of Tripoli, causing the elected government to feel to the eastern city of Tobruk. The presence of United States troops might affect the civil war, as the Wattiya Airbase is the hub for the elected government.

Western leaders have been concerned that the two rival groups in Libya are essentially allowing ISIS to continue its advancement in the country without much opposition. Earlier this week, ISIS briefly occupied Sabratha, causing widespread fear that the historic Roman ruins of the town would be destroyed by the terrorist group. Meanwhile, in eastern Libya, ISIS is closing in on the major oil ports of the country. It is very possible that American, British and French forces could start launching airstrikes in Libya in the coming days.

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