by WorldTribune Staff, May 18, 2016
Residents of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’s (ISIL’s) Libyan stronghold say they live in constant fear as the terror group routinely executes those who practice Christianity, beheads accused “spies” and flogs men for smoking or listening to music.
“There are spies on every street,” a resident of Sirte told the humanitarian group Human Rights Watch (HRW) on May 18.
More than two thirds of Sirte’s 80,000 residents have fled since ISIL seized control of the city in early 2015.
The HRW report comes a week after U.S. officials said President Barack Obama’s administration is ready to arm Libya by getting a UN ban on arms exports to the country lifted.
HRW interviewed 45 residents of Sirte who described “scenes of horror” and atrocities which include the beheading of dozens of residents accused of being “spies” and “sorcerers,” and the crucifying of many others.
“While the world’s attention is focused on atrocities in Syria and Iraq, ISIL is also getting away with murder in Libya,” said Letta Tayler, a senior terrorism and counter-terror researcher at the New York-based HRW. “As if beheading and shooting perceived enemies isn’t enough, ISIL is causing terrible suffering in Sirte even for Muslims who follow its rules.”
The terror group has diverted food, medicine, fuel and cash to its jihadists and seized homes from residents who fled, Human Rights Watch said. Only ISIL members are allowed to use the one remaining bank that is open in Sirte. Communication with the outside world is possibly only through ISIL-run call centers.
“There are no vegetables or meat. Most shops are closed,” one resident said. “Meanwhile the Daesh [ISIL] is living in our houses and having barbecues.”
“We need help – we have no more food or housing to host the people fleeing the fighting,” the mayor of nearby Misrata, Mohamed Eshtewi, said.