On 27 May, Misrata security forces undertook a raid in Abu Grein, arresting alleged ISIS supporter Faris Belhaj. On 28 May, the Misratan Central Counter-Terrorism Force arrested seven alleged ISIS members in Abu Grein. On 28 May, ISIS was observed south of Sirte. On 30 May, ISIS published a second set of “Diary of a Mujahedeen” photos. On 3 June, ISIS claimed to have attacked the LNA) Checkpoint 400 in the Fuqaha area. On 3 June, ISIS claimed responsibility for the two vehicle-borne IEDs attacks in Derna conducted on 2 June.

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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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GNA-aligned factions have condemned and denied claims there are terrorists fighting within their ranks. On 3 August, BDB member Ali Abdulhafiz al-Zindli was reportedly killed in an LNA airstrike. On 5 August, a video emerged showing a South African who has been held captive in Libya since 2017 when he was seized by a splinter group linked to al-Qaeda.

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The LNA conducted several airstrikes throughout last week. On 4 August, at least 42 people were killed and more than 60 injured after an LNA aerial attack hit a town hall meeting in Murzuq. On 5 August, the LNA hit Misrata Air College.

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On 11 January, a would-be ISIS bomber surrendered himself to al-Bunyan al-Marsous (BM) forces after defusing the bomb he was instructed to detonate. On 14 January, BM forces arrested an Egyptian who was allegedly hiding and transporting ISIS fugitives out of Sirte.

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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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