The war between Misrata and ISIS is heating up. Simultaneously, Haftar has not engaged ISIS in any meaningful way this week. Although most of the talk of offensives against Sirte is comprised of hot air, real engagements have started to kick off on the Misratan side and these are likely to occasion countermeasures by ISIS. For example, On 22 May, landmines left by ISIS near Abu Grein killed an LNA officer and wounded two soldiers.

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Tripoli, and the western region as a whole, is witnessing a marked increase in kidnappings and murders of civilians and officials alike. It is difficult to say if these incidents are jihadi terrorism or simply gang violence.

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Last week, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said that the Government of National Accord (GNA) is in a “period of intense dialogue” that could soon lead to an agreement in which US military advisers will be deployed to Libya, in addition to Special Forces already in the country. Following a request by GNA Prime Minister Fayez Serraj on 23 May, the European Union agreed to step up its naval operations off the coast of Libya.

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Despite the setbacks suffered at the start of the GNA’s Misratan-led operation to liberate Sirte, as well as the high number of causalities already sustained, militias from Misrata and western Libya continue to join the effort. On 18 May, ISIS outflanked the Misratans at Al Wishka and Buwirat Al Hasoun. Thirty-two fighters from the Bunyan Marsous Operations Room were killed in Buwirat Al Hasoun, and another 50 were injured.

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