ISIS in Sirte (Tripoli Wilayat) released a video depicting the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on 15 February. The Egyptians had been seized in two separate kidnapping incidents in Sirte in December and January. The most recent issue of ISIS’s magazine, Dabiq, claimed that the capture of the Christians in Libya had been planned in co-ordination with ISIS in Iraq.
In a further demonstration of their growing power, ISIS elements extended their control over parts of Sirte this week. The militant group took over a number of government buildings, a hospital and two radio stations in the town. ISIS also expelled the local Sirte council and began enforcing gender segregation in public office and buildings. It also ordered Libya Dawn forces to leave the town. This show of force came after a major gathering and military parade was held by ISIS last week in the suburbs of Nafiliya, 60 kms southwest of Es-Sider. The gathering, named the First Forum of the Islamic State to Declare Allegiance to the Emir, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdad, was attended by some of the most prominent IS leaders in Libya who called on the town’s inhabitants to declare their repentance and to join the Islamic State. According to local reports at least 35 armoured vehicles came from Sirte to the gathering. There were also reports of clashes between IS and Operation Sunrise (the Misratan alliance that is allied to Libya Dawn) in Nafiliya.
On 13 February gunmen attacked the Bahi oil facility, which is operated by Waha Oil Company along with US companies, ConocoPhilips, Hess Corporation and Marathon Oil. Although no damage was done during the assault, the NOC claimed that the attackers were the same as those who carried out the recent assault on the Mabruk oil field. Then on 14 February there was an explosion on the pipeline that runs from the Sarir oil field to the Hariga port. Sarir that is located in the Sirte Basin and operated by NOC subsidiary, the Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO), was Libya’s highest producing field with output of some 185,000 bpd.