Islamic State in Libya Activities: Week of February 11–16

(Warning: May Contain Graphic Images)

11 February:

  • Unidentified sources indicate IS has declared a state of emergency in Sirte, recalled its forces from Ben Jawad, and vacated the seaside houses its forces occupied. (al-Wasat)
  • MSC Derna and IS forces clashed with light and medium weapons in the 400 Neighborhood of Derna, as MSC Derna forces progress was hindered by IS IEDs and mines placed in the area. (al-Wasat)
  • IS forces allegedly responded to a Misratan military parade on 10 February by conducting their own parade in Sirte. (al-Wasat)
  • An IS fighter infiltrated a position in Western Derna belonging to the Abu Salim Martyrs’ Battalion, a component of the Mujahideen Shura Council of Derna. The fighter detonated an IED on a military vehicle, killing 3. (Wilayat Barqa Statement)(A’maq Media)

12 February:

  • Unconfirmed reports indicates that IS abandoned exposed positions and camps in Sirte, including from the Dollar, 700 Housing Units, and al-Giza al-Askariya districts of the city.(LNA Twitter)
  • LNA forces clashed with IS fighters on the outskirts of the Laithi district, firing on IS positions with a tank. (LNA Facebook)
  • MSC Derna forces arrested a Sudanese IS Sharia Judge, Abu Aisha al-Sudani, in Derna. (Libya Observer)(Twitter)
  • LNA aircraft conducted air strikes on IS forces in the Sidi Faraj area of Benghazi and the 400 area of Derna. (al-Wasat)
  • Rada Militia forces expelled six Tunisians detained in Tripoli from Libya over links to IS. This is the second group of Tunisians expelled from the country in the previous 3 days for the same reason. (Libya Herald)

13 February:

  • IS executed three young men in Sirte, accusing them of participating in the Ferjani tribal uprising last August. (Twitter)(Afrigate)
  • IS released a picture set showing a dawah event in Harawa, with approximately 80 civilians in attendance. This heavily contrasts with the organization’s actions to minimize their presence in nearby Sirte. (IS Media Office of Barqa)
  • IS published a picture set showing a small group of fighters establishing a checkpoint on the road between Fatih and Zahr al-Ahmar. (IS Media Office of Barqa)

14 February:

  • Ali Nasser bin Nile and another unidentified young man from Sirte were executed by IS for their participation in the August uprising. IS conducted at least 4 separate executions in the last week. (Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Facebook)
  • 14 FEB: IS released a photoset showing sharia punishments being implemented in Sirte. One man’s hand was amputated for theft and three young men were whipped for buying drugs. (IS Media Office of Barqa)
  • IS allegedly changed the name of the Muqabl Bin Hadi al-Wada’i mosque in Benghazi to Abu Mughaira al-Qahtani. al-Wada’i was a Salafist Yemeni preacher whose sermons remain popular with online adherents. (Twitter)
  • IS released a video entitled “The Campaign of Shiekh Abu Mughaira al-Qahtani,” replaying footage from the brief 21 JAN capture of the oil storage facility at Ras Lanuf. The video shows a squad-sized unit led by a dark-skinned fighter assaulting the complex with at least five technicals. A tank that appears to be operated by IS militants is also shown, but it is unclear whether the armor was actually used in this attack. The IS fighters captured the facility and showed PFG fighters fleeing the area which held a large quantity of ammunition as well as at least 4 self-propelled artillery pieces and a tank. Finally, a captured PFG fighter was executed by gunshot on camera. (IS Media Office of Barqa)

15 February:

  • UNCONFIRMED reports indicate that a Malian militant known as Islam al-Azwadi arrived in Sirte. It is unclear how al-Azwadi is affiliated with IS. (al-Wasat)
  • Libya Dawn aircraft based out of Misrata bombed IS positions in Sirte. (Twitter)(Libya’s Channel)(Libya’s Channel)

16 February:

  • IS’ Wilayat Barqa claimed to repel an MSC Derna attack on its positions in the Sahel al-Sharqiya area, and to have launched a dawn counterattack against MSC Derna forces in the al-Dhahr al-Ahmar area, with pro-IS media claiming to have damaged a number of MSC Derna vehicles. Clashes continued in the al-Salat and 400 Neighborhoods, with 2 MSC Derna fighters killed and six wounded. (IS Wilayat Barqa Statement)(Twitter)(Aamaq Media)(Libya Observer) [Analyst Note: It is unclear whether the Islamic State maintains any permanent positions in Sahel al-Sharqiya.]
  • Unconfirmed reports indicate 14 families of IS fighters, primarily from Tunisia and Sudan, entered Libya with official paperwork. (al-Wasat)
  • ISIS fighters stormed the National Safety Authority headquarters in the town of Hawara, east of Sirte, seizing two fire engines. (al-Wasat)(Libya 24 TV)
  • An anonymous source reported that an IS convoy moved from the al-Dhaheer area to the entrance of Sirte. (al-Wasat)
  • LNA Aircraft (likely rotor-wing) targeted IS forces in the Laithi District of Benghazi. (Afrigate)
  • An IS leader, Faraj Bujidar, was killed in clashes between IS and LNA forces in the 400 Neighborhood of Derna, possibly by an LNA airstrike. (Afrigate)[Note: It is unlikely there is an LNA presence this close to Derna, and the clashes were more likely between IS and MSC Derna forces, although it is possible that ]
  • IS’ Wilayat Tarablus announced that one of its leaders in Sirte, a Palestinian from Gaza named Mufleh Abu Azra, was killed under unknown circumstances. (Libyan News)(Afrigate)
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