IS in Action

On 9 January, Tripoli’s Special Deterrent Force (Rada) announced the arrest of two IS fighters – Mohammed Abdullah Balah (Abu Ayoub) and Siraj Khalifa Ali Abdul Rahman al-Jahawi (Abu Huraira) – who confessed to being responsible for the failed Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) bombing in the al-Dreibi District in southwest Tripoli on 6 January. Rada said it received a report about a bag of explosives in al-Dreibi area, and sent an explosives expert to deal with it. The device was reportedly a howitzer tank shell connected to a lightning wire and a mobile phone.

On 8 January, the President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, in a media interview suggested the Nigeria government should be cautious of IS fighters masquerading as Nigerian returnees. Ekhomu, a security expert, has said that as a part of the repatriation efforts the Nigerian government must do the “responsible thing” given “there is a high probability that a few of them may be IS fighters escaping from Libya, or coming to Nigeria to execute a possible terrorist plot.” Moroccan officials are also concerned about repatriating its citizens who are currently trapped in Libya in case some of those who return have been recruited to IS or other extremist groups.

 


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IS in Action

IS-sympathetic telegram accounts are reported to be accusing the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) of having a deal with the Libyan National Army to allow its fighters to flee to Derna after being removed from the Sidi Khrebish district in central Benghazi.

Near Sirte, Government of National Accord (GNA) affiliated Misratan al-Bunyan al-Marsous forces continue to remove IEDs left over by IS’s occupation of the city, with photos being published showing the dismantling of a 155mm shell

Other Jihadi Actors

On 28 December, the Libyan National Army (LNA) announced the full purge of jihadist forces from Benghazi. This follows on from clashes, arrests, and airstrikes on the Sidi Khrebish district in central Benghazi by LNA affiliated forces in the last week. The announcement comes six months after the LNA initially declared the city liberated.

On 29 December, the city of Derna reportedly received some of the retreating jihadists affiliated with the Free Libya Martyrs Brigade, a militia which is part of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) and Ansar al-Sharia coalition that has been fighting the LNA since 2014. Although many local sources inside the city deny the reports, the brigade leader, Mohammed Sallabi, issued the statement on the internet saying that the withdrawal was necessary to save the remaining lives of 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 about Western countries’ responses to ISIS in Libya this week, click here. 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 subscribe page.

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IS in Action

Last week, the Libyan National Army (LNA) declared the Oil Crescent to be a closed military zone after a number of IS convoys were seen inside Harawah town, between Sirte and Sidra. However, on 26 November, al-Ghani oil field, which is in LNA controlled territory but has been closed since 2015 after an IS attack, was ransacked and buildings torched by unknown assailants.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed that US forces conducted two airstrikes against targets inside Libya on 17 and 19 November respectively. According to the statement, AFRICOM worked with the Government of National Accord (GNA) to launch the two ‘precision’ airstrikes which hit IS fighters near Fuqaha, south of Waddan.

According to recently released reports, the LNA captured Anis Bualjieh Awami last month. Awami is an IS fighter who was pictured holding up the head of Abdulnabi al-Shargawi at the Ateeq Mosque in Derna on 3 June 2015. Awami was reportedly seized by an LNA unit last month from near his home in Derna. Awami was reportedly one of the IS guards at the execution but did not carry out the execution himself. After IS was defeated by the Derna Mujahadeen Shura Council (DMSC), Awami was arrested before switching allegiance to the DMSC in 2016, leading to his release.

On 22 November, two bodies were recovered by the Libyan Red Crescent in Sirte, suspected to be IS fighters killed the year before.

Other Jihadi Actors

On 27 November, the Libyan National Army (LNA) conducted an airstrike on Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC) targets in al-Dahra al-Hamar area south of Derna.

On 23 November, a mutiny inside a Misratan prison among Islamist hardliners led to four prisoners fleeing, with two later killed in a faceoff with prison guards.


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 about Western countries’ responses to ISIS in Libya this week, click here. 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 subscribe page.

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IS in Action

On 15 November, the Libyan National Army (LNA) said it had conducted two airstrikes against an IS target in the desert southeast of Sirte. According to an LNA air force commander, the target was a storage facility and hideout for IS fighters 90km south of Harawah. The site was reportedly being used as base from which to launch attacks.

On 17 November, the US conducted a drone strike against IS targets in the desert south of Sirte. It was reportedly successful, but no information has yet been officially released. According to a US defence official quoted by Fox News, the strike killed several IS fighters. It was the US’s first airstrike in Libya in two months.

Other Jihadi Actors

On 18 November, the Libyan National Army (LNA) conducted two airstrikes against Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC) targets in al-Dahra al-Hamar area, south of Derna. The LNA has enforced a siege around Derna for nearly three years in an attempt to weaken the DMSC which controls the city.

According to a report researched in early November and published by international organisation REACH on 17 November, formal entry and exit points into and out of Derna remained almost entirely closed, with only limited access to the city via informal crossing points. There are shortages of fuel and staple food supplies, while medical facilities have mostly stopped operating. Issues of lack of liquidity and a lack of municipal services such as electricity, water and rubbish collection have exacerbated the conditions. An official from the parallel eastern government’s Ministry of Health said a shipment of medicines had been sent into the city on 15 November.

On 16 November, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior said that the perpetrators of an attack against Egyptian police forces in the Wahat area in Egypt’s western desert on 20 October, in which 16 policemen and 15 gunmen were killed, were trained in Derna. The statement said that the attackers received training “on the use of heavy weapons and the manufacture of explosives,” in camps in Derna. It said that Egyptian forces have arrested Mohamed Abdullah Mosmary, a Libyan national, who was involved in the Wahat attack.

On 14 November, the Misrata local attorney released a number of high profile fighters who had been detained by Misratan security services for their suspected links to extremist groups, on the grounds of illegal arrest procedures. Amongst these fighters was Brayyek Mazeg al-Masriya, a leading Ansar al-Sharia (AS) and Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) commander from the Oil Crescent region.


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 about Western countries’ responses to ISIS in Libya this week, click here. 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 subscribe page.

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IS in Action

IS cells in Libya are reported to have established temporary checkpoints 70 km south of Sirte on the road to Waddan and also near Bohadi village in the same district, on the 8 and 13 November respectively. The group is said to have stopped and searched civilian vehicles and seized goods.

In the 105th edition of IS’s weekly al-Naba online magazine the group claims its fighters in Libya repelled an attack by the Libyan National Army in Cyrenaica on the 2nd of November, causing casualties and damaging equipment.

Other Jihadi Actors

On 9 November, the Libyan National Army (LNA) claimed complete control of Sidi Khribesh district of Benghazi, in the downtown area close to the port. The LNA reportedly defeated the last remaining fighters from the jihadi coalition who had been hiding out there since Khalifa Haftar announced Benghazi had been officially ‘liberated’ in July. Several jihadis and three LNA fighters were reportedly killed in the clashes, and several more injured.

On 7 November, the death of the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shura Council (BRSC) member Mohammed Bakr al-Yedri, known as ‘al-Nahla’ led to protests in Misrata. Photograph’s of Yedri’s body in Misrata hospital mortuary showed signs of bruising and foaming at the mouth. Supporters claimed he had been subjected to electric shocks. This led to frictions between security forces in the city and protestors, however no clashes were recorded.

The tensions forced the High Council of State (HCS) President Abdurrahman Swehli to go to Misrata on 11 November to meet his former foe Khalifa al-Ghwell, prime minister of the defunct General National Congress (GNC). Both apparently ‘reconciled’ in a published video on social media, after intense arguments between both over the failure of the GNA to unify Libya.


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 about Western countries’ responses to ISIS in Libya this week, click here. 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 subscribe page.

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IS in Action

Local sources report that IS fighters continue to traverse the coastal highway 20km east of Sirte, an area deemed to be under the control of the Government of National Accord’s al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) forces.

Other Jihadi Actors

On the same day, intense clashes broke out in Benghazi’s city centre between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and ‘remnants’ of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC). Three LNA fighters were killed in the clashes and another 10 were injured. This fighting comes after a long lull and the presumed completion of these battles.


 

 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 about Western countries’ responses to ISIS in Libya this week, click here. 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 subscribe page.

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