A Libyan militia soldier fighting against IS - photo by Goran Tomasevic / Reuters
The USA has launched airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) forces in the coastal city of Sirte, Libya. They included unmanned and manned drone attacks.

The strikes were requested by the UN-backed new Libyan government, Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) which has been fighting IS in the region of Sirte since May. 

Sources say IS had been using violence to impose Sharia law on citizens in the area. 

Libya's prime minister Fayez Sarraj said the strikes caused "heavy losses" and it has been reported that IS has lost a stronghold there.

The attack was authorized by USA president Barak Obama and the Pentagon has said, "These actions and those we have taken previously will help deny ISIL [IS] a safe haven in Libya from which it could attack the United States and our allies."

Libyan militia have been fighting IS in the region, but much of its government and military has been divided into competing factions since NATO forces brought down former-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

IS arrived in Libya after Gaddafi fell with many of its soldiers coming in from Syria.

to launch - to send off into the air
coastal - at the coast (next to the ocean / water) 
strike - a (military) attack
unmanned drone - using a drone and no humans
manned - using humans
requested - asked for
UN-backed - supported and approved by the United Nations
to impose - to force to follow

Sharia law - Islamic law used in legal governing
stronghold - a strong position of power
authorized - allowed by a person of authority
militia - citizen soldiers
competing factions - different groups that are trying to get power

to bring down - to cause the fall from power
A French helicopter and three French soldiers were shot down on Sunday by Libyan militia - photo by AFP / Getty Images
An Islamist militia has shot down a French helicopter in Libya killing three French soldiers says French president Francois Hollande. 

The attack occurred on Sunday outside of the city of Benghazi, and these reports now confirm that France has sent special forces to Libya.

First reports of the attack were made on Tuesday by unnamed military officials who said they were unauthorized to inform the media.

Since its 2011 uprising and NATO-intervention, Libya's government has been fragmented and has competing military and governmental groups.

A militia called Defending Benghazi Brigade, a rival of General Khalifa Hifter, the head of armed forces based in Libya's east, has taken responsibility for the attack.

militia - an army of non-professional soldiers

confirm - to be sure about the truth (by having proof)
forces - here, this means 'military power'
unauthroized - officially not allowed
intervention - the act of coming between two or more groups to stop them
fragmented - divided into may parts / pieces
to compete - to oppose another group and try to win