The presence and ambitions of spread of the Islamic State group (IS) in Libya has opened the space for speculations of foreign intervention in Libya, especially after the group tried to control oil rich areas to tighten its grip on the country economically. LIBYAPROSPECT has translated a report published by Arabi21 website, about the group’s presence and possibility of intervention.
The report stated that the group controls Al-Fataeh area, east of Derna and Ras Al-Helea west of Derna and neighborhoods of Souq Al-Hoot, Al-Sabry, Al-laithy in Benghazi and south of Ajdabiya city in addition to group’s sites in Sirte, Al-Noufalia, Bin Jawad, Hrawa and Sabratha city, west of Tripoli and the road connecting Hun and Weddan and Tazrbo southeast Libya.
In the same time, affiliates to Ansar Al-Sharia, in Al-Gwarsha area, east of Benghazi. But they are estimated to be tens after clashes with operation dignity forces, led by the retired General Khalifa Haftar.
The group appeared in the city in the same way it appeared in Benghazi and Derna in 2013 but in Sirte it was away from media’s lights, the report states.
Sources confirm that members in battalions of the former regime have joined the group in fear of revenge by supporters of February revolution and in demand for protection the group gave them.
In Derna since 2013, the group has shared control with Abu Sleem martyr’s battalion under Derna Revolutionaries Shura Council. But after the leader in the council, Naser Al-Eker was killed in june 2015, the council waged a war against the group inside the city that only lasted for 2 days until the group’s affiliates went out heading to Al-ftaeh area in the east of the city and Al-Sahel neighborhood to later join forces of civilians and military men in Al-baida and Tobruk under leadership of the passed away colonel Mohamed Boghfeir and colonel Moftah Hamza to face the group in Al-Fataeh axis.
America and western countries are interested in the movements of the IS in Sirte, observers believe, due to its strategic position on the Mediterranean sea and extension in the desert in south in addition to its proximity to oil ports and fields.
Sirte sea harbor receives foreigner fighters who come by sea in parallel lines to lines of illegal migration, which means some IS members can sneak into European harbors in Italy, Greece and Malta, the report states.
This prompted the American President, Barack Obama, to order the Security Council to work on plans for confronting the group in Libya and sending military experts to study the situation on the ground.
A source inside the Government of National Accord (GNA), who refused to be identified, said that experts from America, Germany, France and Italy met with governmental officials and asked them to accelerate forming the government to grant its permission for “imminent military intervention”.
He elaborated that western countries will target the group’s sites in Sirte by air strikes before forming the government in addition to examining the ability of sending Special Forces after forming the government.