On Friday 7 August, IS members announced the death of one of their Benghazi commanders, Imad Zway, who was killed in the battle for Bu’atni and for whose death retaliation will likely come during the coming days through the usual asymmetrical tactics employed by IS.
IS has now reportedly taken control of al-Wushka and Wadi Zamzam, located 65 and 105 miles to the West of Sirte respectively. The encroachment of IS to the West of Sirte and towards Misrata’s district and areas of influence confirms the group’s ability in central Libya to establish a widespread area of influence and to eschew control of large swaths of territory. This in turn could enable Libyan IS cells to achieve the necessary economy of scale required to significantly increase their recruitment pool, access to resources and, ultimately, striking capabilities vis á vis better organised militias, such as those from Misrata or the pro-Haftar LNA factions. Although IS is still a long way from being able to take on Misrata or any other main military faction inside the country, the importance of its encroachment in Sirte should not be understated.