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.