On 23 August, Islamic State (IS) fighters attacked the Libyan National Army (LNA)-controlled al-Fugaha checkpoint in Jufra around 400km south of Sirte. LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari said that eleven people were beheaded – two civilians and nine LNA fighters, including the commander of the battalion. On 24 August, the IS’s Amaq news agency released a statement claiming responsibility for the incident and announcing that 21 members of “Haftar’s militias” had been killed or injured. The same day two more LNA fighters were abducted north of Jufra.
This marks the second officially claimed ISIS attack since the GNA-aligned al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) forces defeated ISIS in Sirte in December 2016. The first attack was on 7 May when ISIS cells attacked and killed members of a Misratan Third Force convoy.
On 27 August, Amaq released its first video in Libya in almost half a year which showed several IS fighters guarding a checkpoint on the road between Jufra and Abu Grein, south of Sirte. The video also showed two men who were abducted on 24 August. They were identified as al-Sghaier Mohammed al-Majry, the deputy head of the High Commission for Elections, and LNA-affiliated fighter Mohammed Abu Bakr Mohammed, a member of the Asad al-Sahraa battalion which is part of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) unit in the Awbari region.
After this latest attack, the LNA said it was deploying additional reinforcements from the 210 infantry brigade to the region south of Sirte to secure oil ports and installations while the al-Bunyan al-Marsus operations room announced it was sending Misratan reinforcements
Last week, Usama Jadhran was arrested in Misrata as he attempted to depart the city en route to Istanbul. Usama is the brother of notorious Oil Crescent warlord Ibrahim Jadhran. He was arrested by local Misratan security authorities for his alleged membership in Ansar al-Sharia and the Ajdabiya Mujahedeen Shura Council, as well as his suspected links to IS.
On 27 August, Fayez al-Serraj held a joint press conference in Sudan with his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir. The two leaders agreed to cooperate on security issues with a particular emphasis on fighting terrorism as it is a major hindrance to stability in Libya. The two discussed the latest developments in Libya in terms of politics, governance, the economy, and security. Bashir lamented the spill over effect of Libyan security issues in his country, “which have made it expensive for us to fight human trafficking, illegal immigration, and cross-border crimes,” adding that criminal and terrorist networks thrive in Libya’s un-governed spaces. This discussion touched upon ways to coordinate and secure common borders to prevent malevolent non-state actors from crossing freely between the countries.
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