Weekly Security Update by SNE Special Projects 18 August 2015

Daesh have reached a new low in Libya with the indiscriminate shelling of residential neighborhoods in Sirte and the capture and killing of dozens of the Ferjan Tribe who were resisting their control, summary execution style killing and crucifixions of men, women and children were carried out and the pictures uploaded to social media, they even refused to allow the dead to be buried in accordance with Islam tradition. This surely will be the undoing of Daesh in Sirte and with entire brigades of both sides of the warring militias poised to attack all stakeholders are watching the outcome.

Tripoli remains calm but troubled by daily power cuts resulting in generator fuel and food shortages across the city. An increase in Military activity has been noted over the last week with a low flying fighter jet flying several missions over the city on 15th and Tanks and Howitzer Artillery pieces sighted being moved from Tajoura to Janzour District. The Coastal route west from Tripoli has been fortified and very heavily armed Libya Dawn checkpoints are now in place to bring Security to this dangerous area.

Westwards from Tripoli there are reports that several smaller power stations have been started and are producing extra power for the National Grid. The desolate coastline around this region is still enabling the people smuggling gangs to ply their trade and several dozen Africans were found dead on a boat over the weekend, as the Italian Navy boarded the vessel.

Eastwards Misrata remains on high alert with the well-known 166 Brigade again poised just outside Sirte and with several other Militias including Tripoli based Warsafana and Janzour plus Suq Al Juma all in support ready to take the fight to Daesh. A human rights activist was kidnapped in Misrata on the 16th and released subsequently following a brief fire fight between Police and the Kidnappers.

In Benghazi the fierce fighting between Hefters LNA and pockets of Islamist Fighters has continued and there have been numerous casualties and fatalities.

A previously kidnapped LNA Colonel has been released in Derna, no further details known at this stage. IS has beheaded a Derna man whom they suspected of acting as a spy. Moutaz Al-Sharie from the town’s 400 neighbourhood had been seized and accused of giving information to the army. It is not clear when his murder took place. Meanwhile, low-level fighting has continued on the outskirts of Derna between the IS forces and Shoura Council of Mujahideen (SCMD) who drove them out of the town in June.

Tobruks desalination plant was struck by artillery shells with no major damage occurring.

With events in Libya being discussed by UNSMIL at the Geneva round of talks it is surely further proof if needed for dialogue and forming of a unity government within a few weeks.

On 18 August an Emergency League of Arab Nations meeting announced that a joint force from Libya, Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan would form to fight Daesh. The HoR has declared their permission for airstrikes to be conducted on specific targets inside Libya by this force. Britain’s ambassador to Libya has given the first hint that western air strikes may be unleashed against Islamic State (IS) bases around Sirte, aying bombing could be part of a “global plan” to stop the terror group. After horrific images of IS executions in Sirte as it tightened its grip on the city, ambassador Peter Millett told Radio France International that western bombing was now on the table to combat IS, saying “we need to put together an overall plan for dealing with it, which no doubt could involve air strikes”.

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