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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On 23 August, Islamic State (ISIS) fighters attacked the Libyan National Army (LNA)-controlled al-Fugaha checkpoint in Jufra. Eleven victims were beheaded. On 27 August, Amaq released a new video showing two abductees and featuring several ISIS fighters guarding a checkpoint on a road near Jufra, south of Sirte.

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A variety of Misratan entities united against the BDB last week, banning them from entering Misrata armed and demanding they surrender weapons and handover their leader. Werfalli published another execution video, while the LNA seized the Libya Shield base in Souq al-Hout.

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2014 Jun June 27th: Prominent civil society activist, Salwa Bughagis, killed likely by Jihadists Jul July 14th: Libyan Abu Mahjan Al-Ta’ifi Brigade sends 50 men to Iraq to support ISIS Aug Sep Sept 8th: HoR moves against the Mufti, adding an overt religious dimension to the HoR/GNC conflict Oct Nov Nov 3rd: Shura Council of the Youth of Islam in …

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2014 Jun June 27th: Prominent civil society activist, Salwa Bughagis, killed likely by Jihadists Jul July 14th: Libyan Abu Mahjan Al-Ta’ifi Brigade sends 50 men to Iraq to support ISIS Aug Sep Sept 8th: HoR moves against the Mufti, adding an overt religious dimension to the HoR/GNC conflict Oct Nov Nov 3rd: Shura Council of the Youth of Islam in …

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2014 Jun June 27th: Prominent civil society activist, Salwa Bughagis, killed likely by Jihadists Jul July 14th: Libyan Abu Mahjan Al-Ta’ifi Brigade sends 50 men to Iraq to support ISIS Aug Sep Sept 8th: HoR moves against the Mufti, adding an overt religious dimension to the HoR/GNC conflict Oct Nov Nov 3rd: Shura Council of the Youth of Islam in …

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This week witnessed the slowing momentum of the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) anti–ISIS operation in Sirte, as fierce ISIS counterattacks stalled the operation’s advance. This development is chiefly attributed to two factors: 1) ISIS is beginning to push back on the Bunyan Marsus advance inside Sirte, successfully and repeatedly hitting GNA forces behind their own front lines, and 2) the ‘defection’ of the hardline Islamist factions (e.g. Benghazi Defense Brigade) and other associated militias.

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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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ISIS now controls almost 300 kilometres of Libyan coastline and has expanded its control to seven other towns 150 kilometres west and southwest of Sirte. Residents of Sirte have reported tighter ISIS security measures, in addition to widespread stockpiling of food and supplies, anticipating an imminent attack on the city. A large proportion of the population has evacuated, however some …

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A surprise ISIS attack on Misratan Military Council forces in Abu Grein this week has allowed ISIS to capture several towns southwest of Sirte and rapidly institute its control over the local population. The attack, which occurred on 5 and 6 May, included two suicide bombings (by Tunisian ISIS members). The fighting killed 12 Misratans and eight ISIS militants. The …

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The sudden ISIS withdrawal from Derna on 20 April, and the lack of combat between ISIS convoys and LNA, has revived suspicions among Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC) supporters that the LNA and ISIS are collaborating. Furthermore, the civilian casualties resulting from five consecutive days of LNA airstrikes against DMSC positions in Derna have enflamed the DMSC-LNA divide and undermined …

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Sirte On 14 March, ISIS published a video titled ‘Messages to Benghazi’. ISIS filmed the execution of 2 Libyan National Army (LNA) soldiers, while issuing threats against Haftar loyalists in Derna and Benghazi and pledging support for jihadists fighting them. In the 21st weekly issue of the ISIS official magazine, Al Naba, the group published an interview with the new …

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2014 Jun June 27th: Prominent civil society activist, Salwa Bughagis, killed likely by Jihadists Jul July 14th: Libyan Abu Mahjan Al-Ta’ifi Brigade sends 50 men to Iraq to support ISIS Aug Sep Sept 8th: HoR moves against the Mufti, adding an overt religious dimension to the HoR/GNC conflict Oct Nov Nov 3rd: Shura Council of the Youth of Islam in …

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The Decline of ISIS in Libya and the Levant is a Concern for Tunisia August 24, 2017 In an article for the Middle East Eye, Rhiannon Smith and Lachlan Wilson discuss how the military gains against ISIS first in Libya then in the Levant could have a destabilising impact on Tunisia as the thousands of Tunisians fighting overseas for IS begin to …

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A Resurgence of ISIS in Libya? 13 September 2017 Rhiannon Smith spoke to the Voice of America’s Africa News Tonight programme to discuss worrying signs that ISIS might be regrouping south of Sirte. She argues that Haftars Libyan National Army (LNA) forces and the predominantly Misratan al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) forces aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA) are far …

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Aamaq, one of the ISIS media arms in Sirte, reported on the airstrikes that hit Sirte port on 15 February claiming they were carried out by the Libya Dawn faction from Misrata…In Tripoli, the Special Deterrent Force (SDF) affiliated with the General National Congress announced on 10 February that eight Tunisians were expelled from Libya for suspected ties to ISIS.

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