Sirte and its surrounding region witnessed a week of intense fighting, which has so far led to IS militants consolidating their grip over the area. Benghazi witnessed a renewed spike in violence.

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In Sirte, isolated clashes continue to erupt between Misratan forces belonging to the 166th battalion and local cells of the IS. Besides establishing two safe havens for training and R&R activities in Derna and Sirte, IS cells are reportedly building up their presence and capabilities in western Libya, especially inside Tripoli.

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Besides establishing two safe havens for training and R&R activities in Derna and Sirte, IS cells are reportedly building up their presence and capabilities in western Libya, especially inside Tripoli.

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The so-called Tripoli Wilaya of the Islamic State struck in the capital again this week, claiming responsibility for attacks against the South Korean and Moroccan embassies.

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IS launched another attack on Misrata this week, detonating a car bomb on 5 April at the Sadada checkpoint to the east of the city. Operation Libya Dawn looks as far as ever from dislodging IS from Sirte. IS fighters are in key positions inside Sirte and clearly have no intention of backing down.

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ISIS are still present around the nearby town of Nawfiliya, which Sunrise forces took back last week. ISIS fighters are reported to have set up a checkpoint at the entrance to Nawfiliya in recent days. ISIS also carried out a suicide bombing this week against Operation Sunrise forces at an electricity plant 15 km west of Sirte. The attack was executed shortly after Operation Sunrise planes bombed ISIS positions in the town.

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On 16 March a booby trapped car exploded at a military camp belonging to Brigade 166 prompting Misrata to announce a state of high alert and night time curfew. Another blast occurred on 22 March targeting an intelligence service headquarters in Misrata.

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Several members of the Petroleum Facilities Guards were killed in attacks on the Al-Ghani and Dhahra fields and nine foreigners were kidnapped. Most blame Islamic State for the attacks while some blame Libya Dawn.

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The Islamic State released video directed at foreign fighters, calling on them to come to Libya because “the state of Islam is expanding.” UN-sponsored peace talks that were due to take place in Morocco on 26 February were postponed following the HoR’s announcement last week that it was suspending its participation in the process.

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On Sunday 22 February, the vacant residence of the Iranian Ambassador was bombed twice in an attack for which Islamic State cells in Libya later claimed responsibility. In revenge for Egyptian air strikes after the execution of Egyptian Coptic Christians, on Friday 20 February, radical groups from Derna detonated three car bombs in the city of Qubbah, currently affiliated with OD and the Tubruq establishment, killing 40 and wounding 70.

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ISIS in Sirte (Tripoli Wilayat) released a video depicting the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on 15 February. ISIS elements extended their control over parts of Sirte this week. On 13 February gunmen attacked the Bahi oil facility.

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On Wednesday 4 February, approximately 40 gunmen assaulted an oilfield in Mabruk, 170 kilometres south of Sirte, damaging its infrastructure, killing ten and abducting three Filipinos and two Nigerians workers present on site.

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ISIS-cells inside Libya appear to be increasingly assertive and to be developing the potential to influence military and political events at the national level, including UN-backed negotiations and the overall dialogue process. An explosive device was detonated outside of the Algerian Embassy in Tripoli and 21 Coptic Christians were abducted in Sirte.

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