Tripoli (AMN) – Reports by both intelligence authorities from various countries and pro-ISIS social media sources all point towards the imminent advent of major offensive operations by Islamic State forces in Libya and Egypt.
Such conclusions are being reached at a time when it has become apparent that the terrorist group plans to compensate for its total defeat in Syria and Iraq by establishing a new empire in North Africa.
To this end both Turkish and Kurdish sources have reported over the last several days that ISIS militants are migrating from Syria and Iraq towards Egypt and other North African countries (click here to see details).
As early as the 1980s, the jihadist underworld has maintained infrastructures in North Africa to facilitate the movement of militant operatives to and from the region. Today these infrastructures are believed to be stronger than ever before.
Combining this with a lack of effective security measures throughout North African countries to prevent the transnational mobility of terrorists, it is possible that ISIS militants, particularly with the assistance of other armed groups in Syria and certain regional state actors who continue to secretly build their geopolitical strategies around the existence of the jihadist group, could re-locate to Islamic State-controlled spaces in southern Libya and eastern Egypt, re-group with fellow combatants and be ready to carry out attacks within weeks of their departure from the battlefields of the Levant.
Although lacking the kind of fire support assets (tanks, artillery, trucks, etc.) they once possessed in Iraq and Syria, a cadre of just several thousand ISIS fighters could very quickly take control of heavy weapons by raiding (a specialty in Islamic State military doctrine) unsuspecting army bases throughout Egypt and Libya.
Such raids would serve as the prelude to additional offensives aimed at capturing entire towns and cities throughout North Africa.
This post by Andrew Illingworth originally ran on Al Masdar News.