Libya Situation Update: 01–04 January 2016

  1. 01 JAN: LNA-allied fighters launched an attack on pro-GNC Sabratha Military Council militias in the towns of al-Tawila and al-Shabika, west of Tripoli. However, Sabratha Military Council forces appear to have repelled the attacks and retaken al-Tawila. (Libya Observer)(Libyan News 1)(Libya 24 TV)
  2. 01 JAN: Unidentified gunmen assassinated a local militia commander in Tajoura, Abdul Basset Shar. Local militia forces increased security after the assassination of Shar, who allegedly played a role in the arrest and execution of the now defunct LNA-allied Battalion 101’s commander, Abdullah Sassi. (Afrigate)
  3. 01 JAN: Chief of External Media Relations of the GNC, Jamal Zoubih, interrupted and shut down an unauthorized conference being held by UN Special Representative to Libya, Martin Kobler, in the Mitiga Airport in Tripoli. Kobler then departed the airport. The Benghazi Municipal Council condemned the GNC’s actions. (Libyas Channel)(Libya Herald)(Akhbar Libya 24)(al-Wasat)(al-Wasat)
  4. 01 JAN: Agila Sahah, president of the HoR, allegedly has come out in favor of the UN Skhirat Agreement and the GNA, according to UN Representative Martin Kobler. (Libya Herald)
  5. 01 JAN: The Shura Council of Kufra Revolutionaries released a statement denouncing the Skhirat Agreement and calling for the exclusion of General Khalifa Haftar from politics in Libya. (Libya Observer)
Kufra Revolutionaries Shura Council Statement

6. 02 JAN: A potential ceasefire in Ajdabiya was aborted before negotiations as unknown militants attacked the mediators. Additionally, rocket fire damaged a communications tower, interrupting internet and cell phone service in the city. (Libya Observer)(Libya Observer)(Afrigate)(Akhbar Libya 24)

7. 02 JAN: Faiz Serraj held the first official meeting of the Government of National Accord in Tunis. While the body had technically met three times before, this was the first official meeting with all members in attendance. (Libya Herald)

8. 02 JAN: The UN’s chief military advisor in Libya, Paolo Serra, allegedly met with representatives from Misrata’s Halbous, Mahjoub and Mardas brigades and commanders from Zintan’s Qaaqaa, Sawaq and the al-Ajmi al-Atari brigades in Tunis earlier this week. Representatives from Sabratha and Misrata have denied attending such a meeting. (Libya Herald)

9. 03 JAN: A group of fighters from the Ajdabiya Shura Council split from the group and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, marking the second significant bayah in Libya in the past week. The Ajdabiya Shura Council released a statement denying any relationship with the splinter group. (ASC Statement)(al-Wasat)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Libya Observer)(Afrigate)(Libya 24 TV)(Libyan News)(Akhbar Libya 24)(LNA Statement)

ASC Statement Part 1
ASC Statement Part 2

10. 03 JAN: A senior MSC Derna leader, Saad al-Tayra, has denied any affiliation between the group and al-Qaeda and claimed that IS fighters in Derna have requested safe passage to Sirte, which was denied. While MSC Derna may not be an official AQ affiliate or be in regular communication with the worldwide terrorist group, the Abu Salim Martyrs’ Brigade, which makes up the bulk of the council, has strong ties with AQ. (Libya Observer)

11. 04 JAN: Both IS and SCBR forces claimed to have shot down an LNA aircraft over the Sidi Faraj district of Benghazi. The LNA responded by claiming that the aircraft suffered a technical malfunction leading to the crash. The pilot was able to eject and the plane crashed away from any occupied structures. (Twitter)(Libya Observer)(Akhbar Libya 24)(Libya Herald)(LNA Statement)(IS Wilayat Barqa Statement)

12. 04 JAN: The Islamic State launched a minor offensive in the Oil Crescent region, attacking the Sidra Oil Terminal with at least one SVBIED and ground troops. IS released a statement, referring to the campaign as the Battle of Abu Mughaira al-Qahtani, and claiming to have taken control of the town of Bin Jawad, west of Sidra. IS claimed Petroleum Facility Guards from Brega reinforced the Sidra garrison and successfully repelled the attack. At least four IS fighters, 2 PFG troops and a civilian were killed. IS released images of four suicide attackers killed in the attack. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the attack originated from two axes, raising the possibility that the attack was intended to capture the terminal rather than simply cause damage or draw away forces. LNA forces aided the counter-offensive and pushed IS forces back from Sidra, and also conducting an airstrike against fleeing militants. Misratan-based Libya Dawn aircraft also conducted airstrikes on an IS convoy, east of in support of the counter-offensive, a sign of coordination between LNA-linked forces and the GNC-allied forces. Seperately, the Pentagon provided additional details on Abu Nabil al-Anbari, who was killed in an airstrike in Derna earlier this year, leading to speculation that Abu Mughaira al-Qahtani was an alias for Abu Nabil al-Anbari. The wording of the IS statement indicates that al-Qahtani is deceased. (Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Reuters)(Twitter)(Libya’s Channel)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Libya Observer)(Libya’s Channel)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Wilayat Barqa Media Office)(Wilayat Barqa Media Office)(Akhbar Libya 24)(Libya Herald)(Twitter)(Libya Observer)(US Department of Defense)

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