The Islamic State (IS) of Abu Bakr Baghdadi in Iraq and Syria is still winning over supporters in Derna. A second forum was held in the town this week at which local militants belonging to the Shura Council of the Youth of Islam in Derna pledged their allegiance to Baghdadi and his Islamic State.

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The rebranding of Haftar’s forces as the National Army plus PR attempts to coordinate with the local population have proved helpful, but also played into jihadi recruitment stratagems of using hatred of Haftar as their primary recruitment platform.

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General Khalifa Hafter launched a major offensive against Islamist militants in Benghazi this week making serious gains that seem to have finally shifted the balance of power between his forces and those of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council more firmly in his favour.

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Although ISIS was not directly involved in Libya, its jihadi precursors were attempting evermore audacious attacks and changing the culture of the civil war. The use of suicide bombings has raised the spectre of further such attacks being carried out not only in Benghazi but elsewhere in Libya.

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ISIS did not exist in Libya yet, and this was a relatively peaceful week, nonetheless, violence continued unabated in Benghazi with more assassinations and targeted attacks presumed to be carried out by Islamist militants.

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ISIS did not yet exist in Libya, but fissures between the mainstream religious establishment and Tobruq were creating an environment for radical preaching. The HoR moved a step closer in its bid to expel Libya’s ultraconservative Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadiq Al-Ghariani this week.

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ISIS did not exist in Libya but Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi and various jihadis in Derna were aligning themselves increasingly with the Tripoli/GNC faction as the country fragmented into two blocs.

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Although ISIS did not formally exist in Libya, the forces of Operation Libya Dawn, the umbrella group comprising brigades from Misrata and other allied Islamist brigades in the West, were continuing to consolidate their control of the capital.

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