On 15 August, the Petroleum Facilitates Guard (PFG) commander, Major General Naji al-Maghrabi, reported that an operation had been launched in collaboration with the Libyan National Army’s 331 and 127 battalions to recover seven vehicles stolen by IS fighters during a raid on the Greater Man Made River (GMMR) Sarir Station, located between Kufra and Jalu, on 12 August.

Throughout the week IS’s Wilayat Barqah released two eulogies for Egyptian Abu Muhammad al-Marsi and Abu Basir al-Ansari. Details of their deaths are not provided. This follows IS Wilayat Barqah released a eulogy on 13 August for Kenyan fighter Abu Mousa al-Keni.


Other Jihadi Actors

On 18 August, Abdulkader Jumaa Abdul-Hadi Afnish Al-Zwai, a senior leader and founding member of the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) and the Ajdabiya Revolutionary Operation Room (AROR), died of his wounds following a raid on his home in Misrata by the Misrata Anti-Crime Unit.

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 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 14 June, unconfirmed reports suggest IS and Benghazi Defence Brigade fighters were spotted near the village of Harawa, 50 km east of Sirte. Libyan National Army al-Saiqa Special forces are said to have mobilized to the location in response to the reports.


Other Jihadi Actors

On 16 June, the Libyan National Army (LNA) claimed to have captured al-Qaeda linked Ansar al-Sharia commander Sufian bin Qumu during a raid in northern Derna. Bin Qumu is reported to have been the personal driver of Osama bin Laden while he was in Sudan.

On 14 June, two senior leaders of the Benghazi Defence Brigade (BDB), Ahmad al-Tajouri and Faraj Shaku, were allegedly killed by airstrikes as they moved from Bani Walid to the Oil Crescent. Families held a wake on Saturday in the Zureik area of Misrata and a group from Ajdabiya allegedly attempted unsuccessfully to bury the bodies. Prior to becoming a member of the BDB, Faraj Shaku was a commander of the now-disbanded Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BSRC) and the February 17 Martyrs’ Brigade, while Ahmad al-Tajouri was the former leader of the BRSC hailing from the Tajuri district of Benghazi.


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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IS in Action

On 15 November, the Libyan National Army (LNA) said it had conducted two airstrikes against an IS target in the desert southeast of Sirte. According to an LNA air force commander, the target was a storage facility and hideout for IS fighters 90km south of Harawah. The site was reportedly being used as base from which to launch attacks.

On 17 November, the US conducted a drone strike against IS targets in the desert south of Sirte. It was reportedly successful, but no information has yet been officially released. According to a US defence official quoted by Fox News, the strike killed several IS fighters. It was the US’s first airstrike in Libya in two months.

Other Jihadi Actors

On 18 November, the Libyan National Army (LNA) conducted two airstrikes against Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC) targets in al-Dahra al-Hamar area, south of Derna. The LNA has enforced a siege around Derna for nearly three years in an attempt to weaken the DMSC which controls the city.

According to a report researched in early November and published by international organisation REACH on 17 November, formal entry and exit points into and out of Derna remained almost entirely closed, with only limited access to the city via informal crossing points. There are shortages of fuel and staple food supplies, while medical facilities have mostly stopped operating. Issues of lack of liquidity and a lack of municipal services such as electricity, water and rubbish collection have exacerbated the conditions. An official from the parallel eastern government’s Ministry of Health said a shipment of medicines had been sent into the city on 15 November.

On 16 November, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior said that the perpetrators of an attack against Egyptian police forces in the Wahat area in Egypt’s western desert on 20 October, in which 16 policemen and 15 gunmen were killed, were trained in Derna. The statement said that the attackers received training “on the use of heavy weapons and the manufacture of explosives,” in camps in Derna. It said that Egyptian forces have arrested Mohamed Abdullah Mosmary, a Libyan national, who was involved in the Wahat attack.

On 14 November, the Misrata local attorney released a number of high profile fighters who had been detained by Misratan security services for their suspected links to extremist groups, on the grounds of illegal arrest procedures. Amongst these fighters was Brayyek Mazeg al-Masriya, a leading Ansar al-Sharia (AS) and Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) commander from the Oil Crescent region.


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 their explanation of 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. To subscribe to receive this report weekly into your inbox, sign up on the subscribe page.

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Other Jihadi Actors

Clashes between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC) resulted in the death of two young DMSC fighters. Salem Abdul Wahhab al-Gerbadi and Abdullah Idris al-Gabaili were killed in the Dahr al-Hamar area south of Derna, on 20 October.

The Tripoli-based Rada Special Deterrent Force (Rada) arrested two senior members of the DMSC on 23 October, at a hotel in downtown Tripoli. Khalid al-Hassadi and Adel al-Karghali were both supposedly working as health coordinators for the DMSC, and were responsible for the care of fighters who were injured during the conflict against IS and the LNA.

The campaign against Islamist hardliners and suspected IS collaborators in Misrata intensified last week. 13 people were taken into custody, including several notable commanders and members of the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) and Ajdabiya Shura Council. The arrests were conducted in accordance with the Libyan General Prosecutor’s issuance of over 800 warrants for arrest in connection with terrorism.

On 19 October, the LNA allegedly arrested a former IS member who was hiding in Derna. Anis Bujeela al-Awami (aka al-Asla) purportedly joined IS in 2014, before defecting to the DMSC with other fighters in 2015, prior to the IS withdrawal from the city that year.


 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, click here. And to read their explanation of 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. To subscribe to receive this report weekly into your inbox, sign up on the subscribe page.

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IS in Action

On 14 October, Ahmed Ben Salem, the spokesman for RADA Special Deterrence Force based in Tripoli, stated that the group has come to an agreement with Tunisian authorities regarding the extradition of woman and children Tunisian prisoners held in Mitiga Prison. The Tunisian newspaper, Al-Sabah, reported that Ben Salem said the agreement entailed the extradition of twenty-one children.

The decision comes just days after Tamim Jendoubi was handed over to his grandfather successfully on Tuesday, by order of the Public Prosecutors Office. He is just one of many family members of IS fighters who were killed or captured by the Bunyan Marsoos Operation and the Libyan security forces.

Other Jihadi Actors 

The IS attack in Misrata earlier this month has provoked city officials to clamp down against Islamist hardliners and suspected IS collaborators. Clashes broke out between hard-line fighters affiliated with Islamist factions and Misratan security forces on 11 October, during a security operation in al-Sakt area south of Misrata city. Thirteen people were arrested as suspected IS members or collaborators, including two senior leaders of the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB): al-Saadi al-Nawfali and Brayyek al-Masreya. Rabee Mohammed Mousa Faraj al-Shaaeri, reportedly a member of the Ajdabiya Shura Council, died on 15 October from wounds sustained during the clashes. A key commander of Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, Mohammed al-Nous, was also reportedly arrested in Misrata on 14 October after he was found hiding under a fake name.

Ahmed Abu Khattala is currently on trial in Washington D.C., for his alleged involvement in the September 2012 attack on the US Special Mission in Benghazi that killed 4 Americans. On 12 October, a Libyan military commander’s recorded video testimony was played in court, though his identity was not revealed because of security concerns for him and his family. In the recording, the witness claimed he heard Abu Khattala “incite” dozens of revolutionaries at a meeting in Benghazi by speaking out against an alleged US intelligence post in the city. He added that just a few days before the attacks, Abu Khattala told him of his plan to attack the US Special Mission and requested armed vehicles, which the commander said he interpreted as a message not to interfere. Nevertheless, the witness’s credibility, motivation, and actions have been questioned due to social media posts that allegedly show his bias and extreme stance against Islamist militants.


 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, click here. And to read their explanation of 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. To subscribe to receive this report weekly into your inbox, sign up on the subscribe page.

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IS in Action

An IS suicide bomb attack which targeted a Misratan court complex in the centre of the city on 4 October, killed four people and wounded several more. IS fighters opened fire on the complex and the explosion was triggered after one of the attackers detonated a suicide belt. Later a car bomb was discovered nearby that was rigged for a massive detonation and could have taken out the complex completely if detonated. The recent attack follows the public disclosures last week, by the Attorney General’s office in Tripoli, of persons with suspected ties to ISIS and other extremist organizations, and the issuance of arrest warrants for 820 individuals.

It is reported that local social and political backlash against militia members allegedly connected with IS in the city has intensified in the wake of the attack. Misratan youths, who are increasingly supportive of a Libyan National Army (LNA) intervention, are already supporting local security forces in clamping down against militia members connected with IS, Ansar al-Sharia (ASL) and the Benghazi Shura Revolutionary Council (BRSC) specifically. To this end, local sources report that an IS cell was found in the Ruwaisat area and its members, some alleged to be former Benghazi Defence Brigade (BDB) and BMSC members, were arrested. An armory connected to the group was also found with large quantities of ammunition and explosives.

The bodies of 21 Christians killed by IS in Sirte in 2015, were recently taken to a Misratan mortuary for identification and further evaluation before a discussion of the repatriation of their bodies. The investigation bureau of Misrata’s Crime Prevention Department reported that all of the victims were beheaded and dressed in the orange “execution” jumpsuits frequently depicted in IS media.


Other Jihadi Actors

Supreme Committee for Issuing Fatwas (Al-Lajna al-‘Ulya li-l-Ifta’), which is based in the eastern city al-Bayda and is associated with Khalifa Haftar, commander of the LNA, has called for jihad in Sabratha against “Kharijites,” a term used by Dignity Operation members to label their opponents as extremists. The announcement follows the Committee’s controversial Fatwa denouncing Ibadis earlier this summer, which provoked massive criticism from both local and international actors as inciting violence among Libyans.

Following this announcement the eastern government, headed by Abdullah Al-Thanni, ordered mosques in the region to perform Qunut prayers to ask God to defeat the “Kharijites” in Sabratha. On 6 October, the Anti-ISIS Operations Room (AIOR), a force technically under the authority of the Government of National Accord (GNA) but more closely aligned with the LNA, announced its control of Sabratha after defeating the Anas Dabbashi Brigade– ending the prolonged conflict in the city and surrounding areas.


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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IS in Action

On 22 September, the US conducted an airstrike on an IS camp in the desert valleys about 150 miles south-east of Sirte, reportedly killing 17 ISIS fighters and destroying 3 vehicles. US Africa Command (Africom) said the strikes were carried out by armed Reaper drones flying from a base in Sicily. Reda Eissa, a spokesman for the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Misrata-led al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) coalition said he had no information about the airstrikes. Interestingly, the Libyan National Army (LNA) also said that it conducted airstrikes against IS targets near Sadada, west of Sirte, on the same day.

Africom officials said that IS used the camp to move fighters in and out of the country, stockpile weapons and equipment, and plot and conduct attacks, adding that, “IS and al-Qaida have taken advantage of ungoverned spaces in Libya to establish sanctuaries for plotting, inspiring and directing terror attacks.” Africom also praised the GNA and their aligned forces for being valued partners against terrorism. This is the first US airstrike against IS under Donald Trump’s presidency.

Last week, the IS branch in eastern Libya, known as Wilayat Barqa, published its first video since the beginning of the year entitled ‘But They Never Lost Assurance Due To What Afflicted Them’. The long video covers the IS suicide car bomb attack in Nawfaliyah on 31 August and the Fugha checkpoint massacres in southern Libya on 23 August, as well as patrols east of Sirte and camps in the desert.

The video revealed that Ramadan Muhammed al-Rabeeie, whose nom du guerre is Abu Faraj al-Ansari, was the suicide bomber responsible for the Nawfaliyah attack in which 4 people died. He was reportedly born in 1984 and was a resident of Ras Abeida in Benghazi with five other brothers. He was imprisoned during the Qadhafi regime for connections to al-Qaida. He was a senior leader in Ansar al-Sharia Benghazi and allegedly commanded a specialist assassination and bomb squad. He joined IS in 2014. Al-Ansari had managed to escape from Sabri area of Benghazi in January 2017, but it appears that he has now perished in the suicide car bomb.

Other Jihadis

On 17 September, the Libyan National Army (LNA) broadcast televised ‘confessions’ of Ibrahim Muftah Abu Nuwwara, an imprisoned Ansar al-Sharia fighter from Ajdabiya who is in LNA custody. Nuwwara ‘confessed’ that a spate of assassination and kidnapping operations conducted in Ajdabiya were on his orders as well as the orders of al-Saadi al-Nawfali, a senior commander of the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB), al-Kilani Abu Nuwwara, Usama Jadhran, and Khalid Ibsis al-Fakhiri.

In the confession, Nuwwara added that logistical and material support came from Benghazi via Yousef al-Faidi. He said al-Faidi is a key military commander in Ansar al-Sharia and was one of the main operatives conducting assassination and abduction operations in the east since the end of 2011 and it was he who used to deem any rivals as “infidels”. Al-Faidi was reported to have died in July 2015, but it appears he may still be alive with the BDB.

Nuwwara was captured in a sting operation in Khoms in March 2017 and thereafter transferred back to Ajdabiya. He allegedly also participated in the BDB attacks against the LNA in 2016. Prior to that, he and his three brothers had reportedly set up the Ajdabiya Ansar al-Sharia branch in March 2015 to support the establishment of the BDB and their mission to Benghazi via the Oil Crescent. His brother al-Kilani Abu Nuwwara, aka Abu Layth al-Ansari, was a unit commander in the BDB and was killed in a LNA airstrike in Jufra on 9 November 2016. His second brother Ahmed Abu Nuwwara was killed in another LNA airstrike in Ajdabiya on 24 November 2016. The last brother, Shahaat Abu Nuwwara, who reportedly led an Ansar al-Sharia cell in the town of Sultan, was killed in clashes with the LNA on 10 July 2017.

This ‘confession’ sparked intense anger and social rifts in Ajdabiya last week, leading to gunmen burning houses belonging to the Jadhran and Abu Nawwara families in retaliation for their alleged involvement in the assassinations. These developments have triggered deep rifts in the local area and forced members of the Maghraba tribe, to which these families belong, to condemn the acts.

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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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IS in Action

IS media claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack on a Libyan National Army (LNA) checkpoint at the entrance of al-Nawfaliya town, on 31 August. The attack 100 km east of Sirte, left four dead and eight others injured. It was reported that ISIS units moved in to al-Teysseen, a town 90 kms east of Sirte, on 1 September. They allegedly held an Eid prayer in the local mosque and took positions in the town. According to local sources, three ‘Madkhali’ Salafists (loyal to Haftar’s LNA) were abducted by IS around this time.

The LNA air force launched a series of airstrikes from Ras Lanuf airstrip on 2 September, which targeted IS positions in the area of Ain Taqrift, between Sirte and Zillah. As a result, the IS units reportedly withdrew southwest towards the desert valleys. LNA ground forces are purportedly moving westwards towards Sirte to Um al-Qandil– IS elements and locals were reported in that area on 3 September.

Meanwhile the predominantly Misratan, GNA-aligned al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) forces that oppose the LNA, are positioned in the areas around Gate 17, east of Sirte. They continue to scour the areas south and south-west of Sirte for IS elements. The LNA sent a substantial amount of troops to fortify various positions in the Oil Crescent throughout the last week, including the Shuhada al-Zawiya armoured brigade, led by General Jamal Zahawi from Benghazi.

Other Jihadi Actors

A senior member of the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB), Ahmed Bakir (aka al-Nahla), who is allegedly involved in supporting extremist groups by supplying them with foreign mercenaries and cooperating with IS, was detained by the Misrata Counter Terrorism Unit (CT).

The CT unit also released a ‘confessions’ video of senior Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) member from Benghazi, Mohammed al-Khafifi, admitting membership in IS and claiming that his group had cooperated with the BDB in a number of suicide attacks since their evacuation from Benghazi earlier this summer.

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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