Is ISIS set to make a comeback?
The recently released UN report on Libya mainly discussed foreign involvement, specifically of Sudanese and Chadian militias, and how they “may lead to further instability”. However, the UN report also noted that counter-terror operations against ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Libya by GNA and LNA forces, as well as continued military efforts by US forces “continue to disrupt the structure of both groups and temporarily reduce their capacity to conduct operations.” ISIS in Libya, according to the report, funds its operations through a range of nefarious activities that cause havoc for all Libyans – including robbery, kidnapping for ransom, extortion and smuggling, as well as taxing human trafficking networks.
It seems that ISIS would be under control for now. That is why it is of interest that the UN envoy included the efforts against ISIS in the report. However, recall that back in July, ISIS in Libya head Mahmud Massud al-Baraassi, declared that as ISIS was losing its position in Syria, Libya would become one of the “main axes” for future operations.
Continued fighting between the two main groups will lead to further chaos, a situation in which ISIS and other extremist groups thrive. Both sides of the conflict should keep one eye on ISIS as they continue to fight each other for control of Tripoli, and work to ensure the group remains marginalised.
The Counter-Terrorism Force has arrested four people, including a woman, suspected of belonging to ISIS.
"The Counter-Terrorism Force surrounded the neighbourhood where the suspects were residing in Sirte, and arrested four people, who were accused of belonging to the ISIS group," a security source confirmed Wednesday.
The source pointed out that those arrested were transferred to the competent authorities for interrogation.
On 18 August, the Libyan Internal Security Agency in Ajdabiya arrested suspected terrorist Issa al-Shaghri (aka Issa Kaba) upon his return to the city to allegedly plan terror operations.
Born in 1977, Kaba is an Ajdabiya resident, preacher, and employee of the Zueitina oil company. He was allegedly an ideologue of al-Qaeda for several years but pledged his allegiance to ISIS in 2014 and became one of the group’s key recruiters in Sirte.
Kaba escaped from Ajdabiya in February 2016 when security forces were clearing the city of terrorist affiliates. However, he secretly returned in 2019, allegedly to carry out terrorist operations. Kaba is allegedly a prominent leader in Libya’s ISIS branch, and is said to have been activity recruiting youths to join the group.
According to reports from Arab News, a Libyan militia has arrested a number of Al-Qaeda-linked extremist leaders in a raid near the capital Tripoli, the group said.
The Misrata Joint Security Force carried out the raid against “wanted terrorists, classified as Al-Qaeda leaders,” the group linked to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord’s interior ministry said on Facebook late Wednesday.
The dawn operation “in a suburb of Tripoli” on Wednesday led to the arrest of individuals “linked to attacks launched in the capital,” it said.
The main target, an Algerian national fighting under the name “Al-Chaoui,” was rounded up along with several wanted Libyans, it added, without giving names or the total number arrested.
The force published a video of the raid, including footage of three people wearing blue uniforms with their hands bound.
It said it had also seized weapons, grenades, ammunition, documents and material used to produce explosives.
Some critical observers called the published images either "recreated" or "staged".
Eight years after the 2011 revolution, Libya remains a nation engulfed in chaos. The dissolution of central authority & the splitting of its powers between competing actors has made national reconciliation seem impossible; state institutions are non-existent or powerless. Short-term alliances between militias & politically potent figures have been the hallmark of the current conflict.
Not surprisingly, it is within this vacuum that Libyan extremist groups have thrived & continue to operate, in particular the so-called 'Islamic State' (Daesh). Although driven from Benghazi by a determined, protracted assault, the terrorists have regrouped in the southern desert from which they have continued to orchestrate attacks against the Libyan people. Terror attacks on the Libyan National Oil Company & the High National Electoral Commission by militants seemingly linked to Daesh are only a few of the painful outrages committed by the terrorists since their expulsion from the cities.
Just as they have done in Syria & Iraq, the survivors have decentralised themselves in order to better avoid detection. Vast, sparsely-populated tribal areas in the south with little control or oversight have offered a haven to these extremists & criminals. Lack of central authority has allowed the Libyan borders to go unguarded, and foreigners, enticed by online propaganda, have found their way into the country to join as combatants.
With both the Tripoli & Tobruk governments occupied with fighting each other, the continued, growing menace of Daesh in Libya is going unchecked. A continued power vacuum will only help the terrorists more deeply entrench themselves in Libya. This will be a fight both Libya, and north Africa as a whole, cannot afford to lose.
A top Islamic State (IS) terrorist reportedly responsible for media outreach was killed while working with Khalifa Haftar-affiliated forces in Libya, said a media organ affiliated with the jihadist group.
Mohamed Bin Ahmed al-Falata was killed “by forces of the Libyan army,” reported a magazine affiliated with the terrorist group.
Al-Falata, code-named Abu Assem al-Muhajer, was born in neighbouring Sudan before his family moved to Saudi Arabia, Libyan daily Al Marsad reported Friday. After he returned to Sudan, he plotted attacks there, but was arrested and later released. After gaining freedom, he joined the Daesh terror group, said the paper, without giving details of his prison term or why he was released.
After also pursuing terrorist actions in Chad, he moved to Libya to support the jihadist group there, said the newspaper.