ISIS told residents that anyone caught celebrating Libya’s independence day, Christmas or New Year’s Eve would be punished. Last week, a young local who participated in the revolt against ISIS in the summer was also executed…. New reports suggest that the group is using land in Harawah previously owned by Col. Abdallah Mansour, a Qadhafi loyalist, as training grounds for their fighters.

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Rumors are rife throughout Sirte and local social media regarding the arrival of key ISIS personalities from Iraq…. In Tripoli, a Sufi Zawiya (shrine) was bombed in the city center area of Abu Meshmasha in the late hours of Monday 21 December.

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Establishing a New Social Contract for Sirte: A recent edition of Dabiq, the official magazine of IS, published an interview with the current ISIS leader in Libya, Abu Mughira, shedding light on how its senior leaderships view the strategic value of Libya to its overall expansion. In the article, Abu Mughira underscores Libya’s location and resources as the key pillars for the ISIS expansion in the country, adding that all Muslims have a right to these resources, and that control over them will lead to economic breakdowns for Europe, especially Italy.

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In Tripoli, pro-GNC militias captured an alleged member of ISIS last week. The captive, a Tunisian, detailed ISIS activities throughout Libya, implicating Murad Al-Gumati, leading to his murder by the Tripoli Rada militia (AKA special deterrence forces or – قوة الردع الخاصة). The incident follows on last week’s assault on an official of the religious affairs ministry who was accused of having ISIS affiliations. Although the Rada enjoys popularity in the capital as a keeper of law and order (such as these concepts are understood in Libya) the Salafist affiliation of Rada’s commander, Abdulraouf Kara, may have encouraged him to provoke a “black-on-black” fight between Islamist militias that are pro and anti-ISIS.

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IS assassinated two more security officers Ajdabiya, bringing the number killed this month to twelve. The killings reinforce the local and tribal divisions in the Oil Crescent and threaten serious regional instability.

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In Benghazi, IS cells are operating more and more independently from all other forces present. In Derna, the LNA and Derna Mujahiddeen Shura Council are adopting a complementary approach in their fight against IS without directly cooperating.

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IS has now reportedly taken control of al-Wushka and Wadi Zamzam, located 65 and 105 miles to the West of Sirte respectively, while one of their Benghazi commanders, Imad Zway, was killed in Benghazi.

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