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Daesh (ISIS) Continues Suicide Attacks in Libya

ISIS IN ACTION
An ISIS 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. ISIS 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 ISIS 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 ISIS, Ansar al-Sharia and the Benghazi Shura Revolutionary Council (BRSC) specifically. To this end, local sources report that an ISIS cell was found in the Ruwaisat area and its members, some alleged to be former Benghazi Defence Brigade (BDB) and Benghazi Mujahedine Shura Council (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 ISIS 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 ISIS media.

WESTERN RESPONSE
UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame met with the Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces, Khalifa Haftar, in Benghazi on 5 October, a day after the UN representative met with Ageelah Saleh, leader of the House of Representatives (HoR). Salame informed Haftar of the outcomes of the ongoing Joint Drafting Committee talks between the HoR and High Council of State (HCS) in Tunis. During the meetings, the two delegations agreed to a preliminary set of amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). Following the meeting Salame confirmed that Haftar has stated his support for the new UN roadmap for Libya.

The Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano met wth Abdulrrahman al-Swehli, head of the HCS in Rome on 6 October. Alfano declared that Italy believed in the importance of the UN political process and that Italy was fully behind Salame’s efforts. He added that, “the Libyans have to decide the fate of Libya” and that he hoped the talks would result in free elections.

UN Security Council (UNSC) published a statement on 10 October, affirming that it “Endorses the United Nations’ Action Plan for the resumption of an inclusive Libyan-owned political process under the facilitation and leadership of the United Nations which was presented by Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Ghassan Salame, at a high-level event on Libya in New York on 20 September 2017.

Prior to this on 5 October, the UNSC extended its authorization to seize vessels suspected of smuggling and human trafficking through Libya until fall of 2018. The resolution stated that it is, “Mindful of the need to support further efforts to strengthen Libyan border management” and that it greatly encourages cooperation with Libya’s Government of National Accord among all actors.

Libya-Analysis is the most read independent English-language blog on Libyan affairs. It is run by Jason Pack, founder of EyeOnISISinLibya.com and researcher of World History at Cambridge University

This article was republished with explicit permission from the author.