Local sources reported a large influx of ISIS militants to the city last week in a convoy of 12 armed vehicles. The fighters were reportedly given accommodation in specially furnished flats at the city center. Upon arrival, ISIS embarked on a new campaign to terrorize local residents, announcing two lists: a ‘death list’ of 80 names, and a ‘penal list’ of 51 names. Both lists were posted in front of the ‘Islamic Court’ and other high traffic locations for public viewing.
The ‘death list’ included various methods of execution such as beheading, crucifixion and firing squads, targeting escapees from Sirte, including local officials, judges, intelligence and security officers, all well as those currently being held captive byISIS. The ‘penal list’ included those whom the Islamic court has issued sentences, including punishments of whipping, amputation and financial penalties. Two men were executed by the court after being found guilty of allegedly spying for the Libya Dawn government in Tripoli. One was crucified in the main roundabout at the western gate of the city, while the other was shot in the desert. Another man was whipped in the city square because he allowed his wife to leave their home without a ‘Sharaee Hijab’. The man’s family was forced observe his public punishment.
Residents of Harawah are also reporting regular ISIS raids of local homes in search of weapons and dissenters, particularly former military officers. These raids are on the rise, likely due to new rumors that former military officers in the Central region are coordinating with fighters from the Oil Crescent and Misrata to plan an offensive against ISIS.
ISIS’s ‘Wilayat Tarabulus’ media arm released pictures of a training ‘camp’ near Sirte named “Abu Hamza Al-Muhajir”. Photos showed approximately 50 members engaged in shooting practice with different assault and mounted weapons in the desert.
There are also reports that ISIS installed a checkpoint on the road linking Abu Hadi and Waddan, south of Sirte. This is presumably to defend against possible penetration of anti-ISIS coalition forces said to be building up west and south of Sirte (See The Anti-ISIS Coalition section for additional information).
The Oil Crescent
On 1 February, the oil pipeline between Al Entisar oilfield and Zueitina port exploded, likely the result of an ISIS attack. Additionally, three IEDs were reportedly found in the Abu-Attifel oilfield near the pipeline, indicating the a sustained ISIS campaign against oil infrastructure in the region.
The ‘Wilayat Barqah’ (i.e Cyrenaican province) media arm of ISIS published pictures of a number of locals from Derna pledging allegiance to ISIS. Some of the locals are believed to be formerly affiliated with Ansar Al Sharia (AAS) and the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC). Although ISIS has managed to recruit former AAS fighters, AAS has maintained a neutral policy towards the ongoing fighting between DMSC and ISIS.