by WorldTribune Staff, September 13, 2017
Islamic State (ISIS) has regrouped in Libya and is now “dangerously active” in the country, a report said.
ISIS is now exploiting a standoff between the UN-backed government in Tripoli and a rival administration based in Tobruk in the country’s east to stage a comeback, Bloomberg reported on Sept. 12.
Less than a year after the terror group was driven out of its stronghold at Sirte, ISIS jihadists have been spotted near the city’s coastal highway, setting up checkpoints, searching for foes and causing panic among locals, said Sirte security chief Ibrahim Mlitan.
Meanwhile, the deadlock between Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj in Tripoli and Gen. Khalifa Haftar in the eastern-based government, has not been broken.
“The defeat of ISIS won’t happen without real consensus between politicians, which we are far from achieving,” said Jalal al-Shweidi, a member of the eastern-based House of Representatives. “In the meantime, all sides are using these terrorist groups to justify their existence.”
Oil production in Libya has picked up, “yet excessive spending on things like salaries is eroding state coffers,” the Bloomberg report said. “Power cuts and a cash crunch make life difficult for civilians, while kidnappings and other crime are rife.”
While Serraj has major international support, other powerful players including Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have fallen in behind Haftar. Mediation efforts by the UK, France and Italy have struggled to make progress.
According Mlitan, the Sirte security chief, ISIS now has a presence that extends from the central town of al-Nawfalya to the eastern outskirts of Sirte, and south to beyond Waddan in Jufra district. Rocky terrain in the region provides the jihadists with a safe passage to and from the southern desert, Mlitan said.