ISIS did not yet exist in Libya, but fissures between the mainstream religious establishment and Tobruq were creating an environment for radical preaching. The HoR moved a step closer in its bid to expel Libya’s ultraconservative Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadiq Al-Ghariani this week.

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ISIS did not exist in Libya but Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi and various jihadis in Derna were aligning themselves increasingly with the Tripoli/GNC faction as the country fragmented into two blocs.

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Libya’s neighbours held another ministerial level meeting on 25 August in Cairo in a bid to come up with a plan to resolve the crisis in Libya. The meeting was attended by the foreign ministers of Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan and Chad, and others.

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The HoR responded to the triumph of Operation Libya Dawn by branding its forces as well as those of Ansar Al-Sharia as terrorists. It promoted polarisation mirroring the moves of Operation Dawn. It also created a climate in which ‘moderate’ Islamists like the MB and Misratans were keen to work with the emerging ISIS groups.

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Following the series of victories by Islamist militants, fighting under the banner of the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council (BRSC), against Libyan National Army Special Forces targets last week, Genral Khalifa Haftar is trying hard to prove that he is not a spent force. Special Forces fighting with Operation Dignity attacked a number of militant bases in the Benghazi neighbourhood of Sidi Faraj this week, clashing with members of Ansar Al-Sharia.

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Although ISIS did not formally exist in Libya, the forces of Operation Libya Dawn, the umbrella group comprising brigades from Misrata and other allied Islamist brigades in the West, were continuing to consolidate their control of the capital.

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While some groups have expressed their support for Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, ISIS in Libya did not exist yet. However, the continued conflict between the Misratans and Zintanis has further amplified divisions between groups fighting across the country.

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While some groups expressed their support for Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, ISIS in Libya did not exist yet. However, the growing conflict between the Misratans and Zintanis has further amplified divisions between groups fighting across the country.

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The effects of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s declaration of an Islamic caliphate in Iraq are already being felt in Libya. The leader of the Abu Mahjan Al-Ta’ifi Brigade, which refers to itself as ‘Al-Qa’ida in Libya’, has openly declared the group’s support for Baghdadi and sent 50 men, including fighters, doctors, and engineers, to Iraq to support ISIS.

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Violence has continued, especially in Benghazi where General Khalifa Haftar is still battling it out against Islamist militants. Meanwhile, Tripoli and its environs have been witness to an increase in kidnappings and violence, with three Europeans being abducted this week from Zuwara. Insecurity has also persisted to the west of the capital with competing militias clashing.

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Prominent militia critic and civil society activist, Salwa Bughagis, was killed after casting her vote in the parliamentary election, demonstrating the escalation of violence in Libya.

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