On 20 September, the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) 128th Battalion and the Tariq Ibn Ziyad Brigade uncovered an IS camp in a cave near Harawah village, east of Sirte. During the operation security forces cleared multiple vehicle borne improvised explosive devices.

The operation was conducted following information provided by Masoud Belhassen al-Nawfali (aka Jema’a Masoud Al-Hassan Al-Qarqa’i), who was captured by the 128 Brigade on October 14. Al-Nawfali is thought to be the leader of IS in the Nawfaliyah area and believed to have been involved in attacks on LNA positions in and around the Nawfaliyah and Awjlah areas.

On 16 October, local security forces undertook a raid in Bani Walid, arresting three suspected IS fighters.


Other Jihadi Actors

On 21 October, the Commander of the Training Wing of the Derna Police Institute, Colonel Faraj Mohammad Daoud al-Hassi, survived an assassination attempt by Derna Protection Force remnants outside his home in eastern Derna. Media outlets published photos that show al-Hassi with an apparent gunshot would through his hand.

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.

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Throughout last week the Sirte Protection Force (SPF) was on a state of alert following reports of the presence of IS fighters near Sirte. Several days before, the SPF posted photos of their manned checkpoints on the outskirts of the city.


Other Jihadi Actors

On 8 October, the spokesperson for the Libyan National Army (LNA), Ahmed Mesmari, stated that the Libyan National Army (LNA) had captured former Egyptian Special Forces officer turned Egyptian jihadist, Hisham al-Ashmawy, in the al-Maghar neighborhood of Derna. Al-Ashmawy was captured with a suicide vest on, which he had failed to detonate. Photos published by the LNA show al-Ashmawy bloodied and receiving treatment following his arrest. Following his capture, Egyptian security officials have called for his extradition.

Described by some security officials as Egypt’s most wanted man, Al-Ashmawy (also known as Abu Omar Al-Muhajir) joined the Egyptian Armed forces in the 1990s and became a member of the Egyptian Special Forces in 1996, before eventually being expelled from the military for his radicalization. He then joined a north Sinai militant group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. However, when this group pledged its allegiance to IS in July 2014, Ashmawy split from the group and established his own group that became linked with al-Qaeda. Al-Ashmawy led the al-Qaeda front groups al-Mourabitoun and later Jama’at Ansar al-Islam.

Al-Ashmawy is thought to have been using Derna as a safe haven from which to springboard into Egypt to launch attacks. Al-Ashmawy is accused of several attacks in Egypt including an assassination attempt on then Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim in 2013 and killing a leading Egyptian public prosecutor by car bombing in 2015.

Al-Ashmawy was captured along with the wife and sons of Omar Rifai Sorour, the alleged Mufti of the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council who was killed in June of this year. He was also arrested with Bahaa Ali and Merai Abdefattah Khalil Zoghbi. Zoghbi is listed by the UN Security Council and Interpol as a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), al-Qaeda, and Ansar al-Islam. The jihadist is said to have escaped from Italy to Turkey in 2009 where he was provided political asylum. He is thought to have returned to Libya in 2011, fighting with LIFG members amongst the Rafa’a al-Sahti Brigade that would eventually become part of Ansar al-Sharia in Libya.


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.

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On 30 September, the Sirte Protection Force stated that IS fighters have been observed along the coast road between Wadi al-Ahmar and Umm al-Qandil, 90 and 110 km east of Sirte respectively. Security forces have allegedly been dispatched to patrol for the group south of the Wadi al-Ahmar region.


Other Jihadi Actors

On 25 September, an attempt to assassinate the Dean of the Derna Municipality, Abdel-Moneim al-Ghaithi, was thwarted following the identification and dismantling of an Improvised Explosive Devise close to his room in the Pearl Hotel. Derna Protection Force (DPF) remnants are suspected of being responsible for the incident.

On 26 September, the Libyan National Army (LNA) stopped a woman at a checkpoint near Zawiyat al-Urqub in Derna after she was founded to be carrying weapons, money and other documents for DPF remnants in the city.


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.

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On 24 September, it was reported that as many as eight bodies belonging to the Libyan National Army and their supporters were unearthed in Derna following the confessions of alleged IS militants. The alleged IS members confessions were broadcast on Libyan television days before the recovery of the bodies. The deceased were said to have been missing from 2014.

On 17 September, the Sirte Protection Force (SPF) uncovered a cache of unexploded ordnance, RPGs, and mortars abandoned by IS in the Sirte Central Clinics Complex. A spokesperson for the SPF de-mining group, Salim al-Amil, stated that the explosives were discovered amidst efforts to equip a clinical facility in the city.


Other Jihadi Actors

On 21 September, suspected Al-Qaeda members launched an attack using rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers on a senior security official in Sebha.

On 24 September, the Libyan National Army (LNA) dismantled an Improvised explosive device (IED) in the al-Mughar district of Derna. This follows an alleged attempt by the Derna Protection Force (DPF) to set an IED beneath a LNA police vehicle in the city’s Eastern District on the 19 December. A man was injured in the incident and was taken to al-Harish hospital. Furthermore, direct clashes still continue in the city with an LNA fighter belonging to the 212 Battalion being killed in action on 24 September.


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.

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On 27 August, IS fighters are reported to have briefly detained a civilian 70 km south of Sirte. The Sirte Protection Force has since raised the security levels to critical.


Other Jihadi Actors

On 1 September, fighting between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the remnants of the Derna Protection Force (DPF) renewed in Derna, reportedly left 11 LNA fighters dead and 19 injured. Local news outlets reported that among the dead was senior leader Mohamed Fitour, adding that a MIG21 was hovering above the city as clashes were ongoing in Wasit Al-Blad in Derna.

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.

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On 24 July, IS fighters raided a police station in al-Uqaylah, west of Brega, destroying at least two vehicles with unconfirmed reports suggesting that multiple officers were killed and at least one was beheaded. Clashes also occurred at a Libyan National Army (LNA) checkpoint 20km south of the town following the incident. Additional unconfirmed reports suggest that IS militants had actually captured al-Uqaylah for several hours. IS has since claimed responsibility for the incident.


Other Jihadi Actors

On 21 July, reports began emerging of confessions from Derna Protection Force (DPF) prisoners interrogated by the Libyan National Army (LNA) suggesting that Hisham Ashmawi (Abu Omar al-Muhajir al-Masri) is amongst one hundred or so Derna Protection Force (DFP) remnants isolated to small pockets of old town Derna by the LNA. Hisham Ashmawi is a former Egyptian Special Forces officer who is said to lead the al-Qaeda-linked organization Jama’at Ansar Al-Islam.


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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On 4 July, IS branch in eastern Libya, known as Wilayat Barqah, released a new video titled “The Point of Death” documenting its recent attacks against Libyan National Army (LNA) checkpoints in the Oil Crescent, the beheading of LNA soldiers, and interviews with four suicide bombers. This is the first video from IS-Barqah since September 2017.

On 6 July, in the most recent edition (No. 138) of their digital newspaper al-Naba’, IS published a photo showing the captivity of two Libyan National Army (LNA) fighters who had been abducted just over a week before. On 26 June, IS fighters kidnapped two LNA air force and air defense officers, identified as Colonels Abdullah Hamad Bouamoud Zawawi and Mostafa Nasser al-Khuraisi, while they participated in a social gathering in the desert area between Zallah and Waddan. The officers were identified by their military uniforms.


Other Jihadi Actors

Last week, the Libyan National Army’s 101 Brigade published photos that circulated on social media of senior al-Qaeda leader Sufiyan Bin Qammu amongst other al-Qaeda militants in Darnah. Qammu is thought to be a prominent al-Qaeda theoretician in Libya and is known within the group as “The Libyan Knight.”

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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On 28 June, airstrikes targeting Benghazi Defence Brigade (BDB) and IS locations were reported near Bani Walid. At the time of writing it is unclear if it was either of the two groups or an amalgamation of forces fleeing the Oil Crescent after participating in Ibrahim Jadhran’s assault on the oil facilities. However, this is not the first time that IS and BDB units have been either observed together or confused for one or the other. A fortnight earlier on 14 June, unconfirmed reports suggested that IS and BDB fighters were spotted near the village of Harawa, 50 km east of Sirte, with Libyan National Army al-Saiqa Special forces having been mobilized to the location in response to the report.

On 30 June, Sirte security forces declared a state of alert following reports of IS movement in the southern part of the city. The security forces have established checkpoints and are undertaking both mobile and stationed patrols in the city as a response.


Other Jihadi Actors

On 28 June, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced the ‘liberation’ of the city of Darnah. Earlier that day the LNA had stated that they had complete control of the city, after having supposedly taken control of 75 percent of Darnah three weeks prior, and that Brigadier General Salem al-Rifadi was appointed the head of the Joint Security Operations Room for the city.

Prior to Haftar’s announcement on 27 June, the Darnah Protection Force (DPF) claimed to have been heavily barraged for more than 24 hours by UAE unmanned drone strikes on their positions in the Shiha neighborhood. Conflicting reports suggest that former Darnah Mujahadeen Shura Council (DMSC) Chairman Atiya al-Sharrir was killed during these strikes.

Darnah has been under the control of the DMSC since 2014. In May 2018 the DMSC changed its name to the Darnah Protection Force (DPF), in what has been suggested as an effort to distance itself from the DMSC’s alleged links to al-Qaeda.


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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On 26 June, IS fighters kidnapped two Libyan National Army (LNA) officers while they participated in a social gathering in the desert area between Zallah and Waddan. The officers were identified by their military IDs.

In the most recent edition of their digital newspaper, al-Naba, IS claimed to have undertaken two attacks on LNA checkpoints near Zallah and al-Fugha on 1 and 5 of June.


Other Jihadi Actors

On 25 June, the leader of the Derna Protection Forces (formerly known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council), Atiyah al-Shaari, was reportedly killed in a Libyan National Army (LNA) airstrike in downtown 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, 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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