Weekly Eye on Jihadis in Libya Update – July 26, 2017

Misratan-led Bunyan Marsus (BM) forces have raised the level of security readiness in Sirte in response to increased security threats. There are reports that on 22 July, BM forces sent 20 vehicles to Sabaa and established checkpoints at the west and east of the city in anticipation of an impending Islamic State (IS) attack on Sirte from the south and the east. On 23 July, the spokesperson for the GNA’s forces, Brigadier Mohammed al-Ghosri, denied rumors that BM requested military support from the LNA in the fight against IS. Ghosri, who was recently rumored to have resigned from his position, posited that the LNA’s position in Jufra may actually facilitate the presence and movement of IS south of Sirte.
The bodies of hundreds of foreign militants who were killed in the final battle against IS in Sirte earlier this year, are being stored in freezers in Misrata. A Misratan-organized crime division has worked to collect DNA samples, preserve, document and to photograph the bodies before they are moved out of Libya. The Prosecutor General is negotiating the sensitive issue of repatriation arrangements with the fighters’ countries of origin.
A new video featuring the notorious LNA Saiqa Special Forces senior commander, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, directing the execution of prisoners of war was released on 23 July. Earlier this year Haftar rejected Werfalli’s resignation from Saiqa following widespread condemnation of the cruel behavior he exhibited in earlier videos. In the most recent edition, al-Werfalli is shown reading out charges as 18 prisoners dressed in orange jump suits are shot in the back of the head at point-blank range by militia men. The video release follows a renewed call by the UN to the LNA to investigate the summary executions of prisoners, prompted by concerns over human rights abuses. The prisoners of war are believed to belong to IS, and the video is captured with a similar style of choreography to the infamous IS execution videos.

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, and to read about 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.