Weekly Eye on ISIS in Libya Update – February 28, 2017

On 22 February, two young jihadi fighters who reportedly fought for Islamic State (ISIS) were arrested in Ajdabiya by a group calling itself the Tariq Ibn Ziyad Brigade. They had escaped the Libyan National Army (LNA) siege in Benghazi. One of the men was Mohamed Mustafa al-Mugharbi (aka Randa al-Abed), a high-profile fighter for ISIS in Benghazi’s central Sabri district. On 24 February, Tariq Ibn Ziyad Brigade released a video showing the execution of al-Mugharbi in Ajdabiya. The group is said to be a Madakhli Salafist unit operating under the command of the LNA.
Al-Mugharbi was reportedly connected with the gruesome execution of an LNA soldier, the video of which was recently published on Libyan social media. The other fighter was a young man from Tripoli called Jasem al-Kikli. A third man from Ajdabiya was also arrested on the grounds of providing safe passage to terrorists.
The battle between Libyan National Army (LNA) forces and jihadists in the 12 Flats area of Ganfuda, in south-west Benghazi, is ongoing despite the LNA declaring Ganfuda ‘liberated’ earlier this month. On 23 February, 3 LNA soldiers and 3 jihadists died during an intensive door-to-door battle in the 12 flats area. A video of the fighting was published by LNA, in which the Syrian accent of one of the jihadist fighters can be heard.
According to the LNA, 8 bodies were found buried in a makeshift grave in one of the buildings in 12 Flats.  A further 36 corpses were uncovered in a multiple burial sites in Ganfuda. Red Crescent workers are helping LNA fighters to exhume and remove the remains.

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 in Libya, click here. And to read their explanation of the developments within the anti-ISIS Coalition of Libyan militias, click here.
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