Weekly Eye on ISIS in Libya Update – May 16, 2016

ISIS now controls almost 300 kilometres of Libyan coastline and has expanded its control to seven other towns 150 kilometres west and southwest of Sirte. Residents of Sirte have reported tighter ISIS security measures, in addition to widespread stockpiling of food and supplies, anticipating an imminent attack on the city. A large proportion of the population has evacuated, however some residents have reportedly returned because they could not afford rent elsewhere.

ISIS announced the names of seven fighters killed in the group’s assault against Misratan forces that culminated in the capture of Sdada Bridge on 5 May. Among the dead were four jihadists from Derna, two of which were brothers. Two other ISIS fighters killed in clashes with Misrata on 12 May were also from Derna.

On 9 May, ISIS published a gruesome video titled “Killing the Followers of Satan” that showed the beheading and shooting of three Libyan National Army (LNA) medical volunteers, taken captive during clashes in Benghazi last month. On 10 May, ISIS issued a statement claiming responsibility for destroying an LNA ‘T72’ tank and killing a number of LNA soldiers in Benghazi, and taking one soldier prisoner.

On 11 May, ISIS continued its advance on the Misratan frontline, conducting another surprise suicide attack on Misratans posted near Al Sdada checkpoint, northwest of Abu Grein. Although the incoming truck bomb was stopped by trenches dug in the road, ISIS militants managed to kill four Misratan fighters, and injured another 10, before retreating back to Abu Grein. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, identifying the suicide bomber as a Sudanese national.

On 14 May, ISIS published a photo report with maps that highlighted the LNA units targeted by ISIS mortars in Al Guwarsha area of Benghazi. The media units affiliated with the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council and Ansar Al Sharia have produced similar material of the same events, but each claiming their own credit, indicating a continued rivalry amongst the jihadists.

A weekly update of ISIS’s actions, the Western response, and developments pertaining to Libya’s other militias is available by subscribing here.  To read the Eye On ISIS in Libya Team’s treatment of Western countries’ responses to ISIS in Libya this week, click here. To read their blog post about the actions of other jihadi actors, click here. And to read their explanation of the developments within the anti-ISIS Coalition of Libyan militias, click here.

To read all four sections of this week’s Eye on ISIS in Libya report, click here. To subscribe to receive this report weekly into your inbox, sign up on the EOIL homepage.

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