Eye On Jihadis in Libya Weekly Update: July 31

Additional details have emerged surround IS’s attack on a police station in Uqaylah in Eastern Libya. On 24 July, IS fighters arrived in as many as five vehicles and attacked the Uqaylah police station in the early hours of the morning, killing one policeman. The attackers then burned the station, leaving several improvised explosive device’s (IED) within. A series of shops were also raided and goods stolen before the assailants escaped to the south while recording a video as they did so. The IS fighters are said to have clashed with the Ajdabiya Operations Room south of the town, where one security force member was killed.

The Libyan National Army’s (LNA) 166 battalions is then said to have pursued the attackers, killing 13 of the militants while losing three of their own in Wadi al-Jafr. One the IS members killed is alleged to have been Mahmoud al-Barasi, a former Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) fighter who has been labeled as the “Emir of Benghazi”. IS has since claimed responsibility for the attack, and in the group’s latest al-Naba newsletter (no. 141) it includes brief details of the attack.

On 28 July, several vehicles belonging to IS fighters were observed south of Uqaylah moving to the 103 line towards the Kufra and Jalu region. Subsequently, security forces in Oil Crescent region were put on high alert.


Other Jihadi Actors

On 25 July, airstrikes are reported to have occurred at approximately 22:30 local time targeting a house in the Sharib area near Ubari in Southern Libya, containing individuals thought to be affiliated with al-Qaeda. The house was believed to have been rented by an Algerian with several cars parked at the front of the building prior to the strike. Six people were killed, three from Algeria, two Malians and a Libyan. The Libyan killed in the strike is said to be al-Qaeda member by the name of Abu al-Leith. The prominent militia leader Yahia Abu Hamam aka Jamal Oskasa and his aide Talha ash-Shanqiti were thought to have been the targets of the strike, but sources suggest they survived. Okasha is an east- Algiers native who was the head of the Mauritanian and Berahiche Arab dominated al-Furqan brigade.

The U.S. African Command (AFRICOM) have denied responsibility for the attack, but carried out a similar strike on the same targets in the same area in March. On 24 March, the US military undertook drone strikes targeting a house near Ubari, allegedly killing two militants that belonged to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) according to a spokeswoman for AFRICOM.


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.

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