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UK Supporting Re-Stabilization Efforts in Sirte, Libya

ISIS IN ACTION

On 20 and 23 December, ISIS fighters reportedly attacked the main control station of the Man Made River pipe system. The site is located 50km north of the town of al-Shuwarif, situated on the road between Tripoli and Sebha. The site currently lies within the domain of Libyan National Army (LNA) forces who took control of the area two weeks ago, under the command of Colonel Bin Nayel. ISIS fighters plundered a lot of material from the station before departing. On 25 December, the LNA spokesperson al-Mesmari announced that the LNA had driven the ISIS fighters away and now control the station.

On 21 December, the mayor of Khoms announced that the beheading of a family which took place last month in the town was not done by Islamic State (ISIS) as originally believed. The mayor said that the perpetrator falsely attributed the murder to ISIS by to evade arrest.

WESTERN RESPONSE

On 19 December, US AFRICOM announced the conclusion of its aerial Operation Odyssey Lightning. This announcement came two days after the Government of National Accord (GNA) announced the end of offensive military operations in Sirte. Mine clearance operations are still ongoing as well as the collection of corpses and the sanitisation of the city. Although Sirte is now under the firm control of Misratan al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) forces, threats still remain from booby traps, IEDs and any remnant ISIS fighters possibly still in the city. The re-stabilisation of Sirte and its infrastructure is likely to take months. Reconstruction efforts are being organised by the Stabilisation Facility for Libya which is run under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme, and is being supported by the UK, among other countries.

On 23 December, two Libyans from Fezzan hijacked a Libyan plane flying from Sebha to Tripoli and forced it to fly to Malta. The plane landed in Malta and all the passengers and crew were evacuated safely. The hijackers were then arrested by the Maltese authorities. There are few confirmed details about the motivation for the hijack, however it seems the incident was intended to look like Qadhafi supporters were to blame. After the hijack Colonel Bin Nayel, a Libyan National Army (LNA) commander, called for Misrata’s Third Force to hand over control of Sebha airport. On 21 December, the GNA’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj visited Ghat in south-western Libya. Qadhafi supporters reportedly greeted him with green flags and images of the former leader.

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 used with explicit permission from the author.