On 3 January, an explosion destroyed an arms cache in Mizdah, a town situated 200km south of Tripoli. The perpetrators are as yet unknown, but ISIS is thought to be implicated. Reports from locals in the area indicate that ISIS fighters are reorganizing in south-western Libya along the Man Made River route between Bani Walid and Sebha. Last week, an attempt was made to sabotage the Man Made River (MMR) pipeline between al-Shuwarif and Bani Walid. The saboteurs used tank shells to blow a hole in the pipeline. There are reports of ISIS mobilizing forces near Bani Walid and Nesmah. In response, a new anti-ISIS tribal coalition has been formed between Awlad Busif, Zintan, and Werfalla in south-west Libya. These tribes are reportedly organizing their ranks to defend their territory from ISIS.
On 4 January, an ISIS fighter from Derna conducted a suicide bombing against Government of National Accord (GNA) aligned al-Bunyan al-Marsus forces in the eastern area of Sirte, however no casualties were reported. On 8 January, an ISIS member captured by the LNA stated on Libyan television that Tunisian journalists Sofiane Chourabi and Nadher Guetari, who have been missing in Libya since 2014, are both dead. Documents found by the LNA during their raids in Ganfuda over the last two weeks appear to show that the decision to kill the journalists was made by ISIS clerics, and that both were executed in Derna.
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 the Eye on ISIS in Libya Team’s 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.