Eye On Jihadis in Libya Weekly Update: December 4

On 1 December, the Libyan National Army arrested five IS members in Ubari. The arrests were made while security forces patrolled the road between Ubari and Ghat. The five arrested were described as being of African decent.

On 29 November, IS released its Naba magazine No. 158. In the issue it detailed the group’s attack on the Libyan town of Tazirbu and threaten to undertake a “new approach” in their campaign against Libyan cities.

Other Jihadi Actors

On 29 November, US Africa Command (AFRICOM), in coordination with the Government of National Accord (GNA), conducted an airstrike killing eleven al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) members and destroying three vehicles near al-Uwaynat in southern Libya.

Local Tuareg communities have responded angrily to the strike, claiming some of those killed were not members of al-Qaeda but were former members of the Tiniri/Wadi Janub brigade in al-Uwaynat.

Libyan media outlets suggest that one of those killed in the airstrikes was Mussa Ala Toni al-Tarqqi, a former al-Bunyan al-Marous fighter who participated in the fighting against IS in Sirte in 2016. Al-Tarqqi was reported to be a prominent member of AQIM and a resident of the Sharab neighborhood of Ubari. He is said to have been involved in arms smuggling and other activities assisting AQIM financing.

On 1 December, a Benghazi Defense Brigade convoy of 40 vehicles was observed driving along the coastal road from Tawergha to Misrata.

The Benghazi Defence Brigade was formed in May 2016 to support the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council retake the city of Benghazi from the Libyan National Army (LNA). The group is comprised of anti-LNA army and police personnel as well as militants with diverse political backgrounds. The group includes hardliner Islamists. It was involved in clashes with the Misratan Third Force against LNA forces in southern Libya in 2017 and took part in Ibrahim Jadhran’s assault on the Oil Crescent in 2018.

A weekly update of IS’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 IS in Libya this week, click here, and to read about the developments within the anti-IS Coalition of Libyan militias, click here. To read all four sections of this week’s Eye on IS in Libya report, click here.