Islamic State Expands in Libya

By FC, translated for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Libya Business News.

The Islamic State (IS) has threatened the Maghreb repeatedly, especially after many members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) affiliated themselves with the terrorist group. The recent events in Libya, particularly those that occurred in the city of Derna, show that this danger is threatening its borders.

Although an international alliance of more than 40 countries is fighting IS in Iraq and Syria, the situation in Libya is quite different. Under such anarchy, there is a pressing need for an international call to find a political and nonmilitary solution. But, what kind of dialogue can take place in light of the abundance of weapons and militias and amid the entwined interests of several countries in the Libyan scene?

Derna, sanctuary of radical Islamists in the Maghreb

New clashes broke out between rival Islamist militias on Sept. 21 in Derna, killing 12 Libyans and injuring four others. These clashes happened between the Abu Slim Martyrs Brigade and the Islamic Youth Shura Council, with reported deaths in both camps. The Islamic Youth Shura Council, which was created last April, has carried out a public execution in a football stadium in Derna. Such practices remind us of the Taliban in Afghanistan and IS in Syria and Iraq.

The armed clashes have divided the city of Derna, which has almost become the stronghold of radical Islamists, between militants of Abu Slim Martyrs Brigade affiliated with Ansar al-Sharia and the IS-affiliated Islamic Youth Shura Council. Targeted killings have also become commonplace, Colonel Salwa Hindawi became the fourth woman to get shot in the city when she was assassinated outside her home.

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