Libya: jihadists briefly occupied the center of Sabratha

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News
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About 200 of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) managed to occupy for several hours the center of Sabratha near Tripoli, before being driven out by members of the militia coalition Fajr Libya, officials said Wednesday.

The IS has set up in Libya by taking advantage of the chaos in the country where power is played by two authorities, one recognized by the international community and exiled to the east and the other led by the coalition Islamist militias including Fajr Libya which controls the capital Tripoli and western areas.

The jihadist group seized in 2015 from the port city of Sirte and around 450 km east of Tripoli, before installing the base, but it is trying to expand its influence in the country in turmoil since the revolt that drove Gaddafi from power in 2011.

Fighting in and around Sabrata between IS and militiamen linked to Fajr Libya erupted just days after a US raid on February 19 against a training camp of the IU to Sabratha, 70 km west of Tripoli which has fifty dead including “probably” a leader of the jihadist organization.

Tuesday night, militiamen and security forces under Fajr Libya conducted operations of search and sweep around Sabrata including Al-Nahda, said the military council of the town in a statement by state clashes with IE that killed four people.

Taking advantage of the “security vacuum in Sabratha” jihadists of the IU entered the center of the city where they have occupied for a few hours the security headquarters, the statement said. But called for help, the security forces managed to drive them out.

The head of the military council, Taher al-Gharabli, said on television that “sleeper cells of EI” took advantage of the empty set in the center of the city after the departure of security forces to launch search operations on the outskirts of the city.

It was not clear where to have withdrawn the jihadists. No indication was given on either an overall death toll in the violence.

Local authorities have called on residents of Sabratha which is under control of Fajr Libya to “close ranks and informing security forces of any suspicious thing or action in the city.”

This is the first time that IE is shown in Sabratha, a town on the coastal road linking Tripoli to the Tunisian border.

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