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US Continues Airstrikes in Libya

ISIS IN ACTION
Last week, the Libyan National Army (LNA) declared the Oil Crescent to be a closed military zone after a number of ISIS convoys were seen inside Harawah town, between Sirte and Sidra. However, on 26 November, al-Ghani oil field, which is in LNA controlled territory but has been closed since 2015 after an ISIS attack, was ransacked and buildings torched by unknown assailants.

According to recently released reports, the LNA captured Anis Bualjieh Awami last month. Awami is an ISIS fighter who was pictured holding up the head of Abdulnabi al-Shargawi at the Ateeq Mosque in Derna on 3 June 2015. Awami was reportedly seized by an LNA unit last month from near his home in Derna. Awami was reportedly one of the ISIS guards at the execution but did not carry out the execution himself. After ISIS was defeated by the Derna Mujahadeen Shura Council (DMSC), Awami was arrested before switching allegiance to the DMSC in 2016, leading to his release.

On 22 November, two bodies were recovered by the Libyan Red Crescent in Sirte, suspected to be ISIS fighters killed the year before.

WESTERN RESPONSE
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed that US forces conducted two airstrikes against targets inside Libya on 17 and 19 November respectively. According to the statement, AFRICOM worked with the Government of National Accord (GNA) to launch the two ‘precision’ airstrikes which hit ISIS fighters near Fuqaha, south of Waddan.

The statement said that, “The United States stands by our Libyan counterpart’s efforts to counter terror threats and defeat ISIS in Libya. … Our political and security goals are the same: a reconstituted Libyan state at peace internally and able to address all threats within its territory.”

On 22 November, the Egyptian air force said that, in coordination with its armed and intelligence services, it identified and destroyed 10 vehicles attempting to smuggle arms and ammunition through Libya’s western border into Egypt. It did not say when these airstrikes had taken place.

The so-called Anti Terror Quartet (ATQ) countries – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain – have added Libyan national Salem al-Jaber to their list of alleged terrorists. Jaber is a radical imam from Misrata who supported the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council.

They also added the Qatar-based World Union of Muslim Scholars, which includes Ali Sallabi as a leading member as well as Salem al-Sheikhi and Wanis al-Mabrouk al-Fasi, both from eastern Libya. Sallabi is seen as the real leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and is an influential figure – he is already on the list as an individual.

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.