Suicide bombings by Islamic State’s ‘province’ rock Libyan town

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At least two suicide bombers launched attacks in the Libyan town of Qubba earlier today. Early casualty reports say that more than 40 people were killed. The attacks were quickly claimed by one of the Islamic State’s so-called “provinces” in Libya.

The group posted pictures of two of the Caliphate’s “knights” and the aftermath of their bombings on Twitter.

The Islamic State’s province says the attacks were revenge for the spilling of Muslim blood in Derna, which has been bombed by Egyptian war planes. The Egyptian government launched the airstrikes in retaliation for the Islamic State’s mass beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians earlier this month.

The nom de guerre used by one of the suicide bombers indicates that he was a Saudi. The other attacker was a Libyan. A photo of one of the terrorists can be seen above, and additional images from the Islamic State’s photo set are included at the end of this article.

There is some confusion in the aftermath of the explosions, as some reports suggested more than two bombings were part of the operation. But at least two explosions are confirmed. According to the Associated Press, a Libyan army spokesman says that most of the casualties occurred when one of the terrorists “rammed an explosives-packed ambulance into a gas station where motorists were lined up.”

Qubba is not far from the Libyan city of Derna, which is a known hotbed for jihadism. The Islamic State’s followers have a significant presence in Derna, but do not govern the entire city, as has been widely reported. Other jihadist groups, including the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade (ASMB), continue to operate in Derna and control significant parts of the city.

The Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in Derna, which was formed by the ASMB and is an alliance of jihadist groups, has denounced Egypt’s airstrikes as well. The jihadist coalition has released a statement and photos on its official Twitter feed that supposedly show the devastation done by the aerial campaign. The MSC and its constituent groups are among the Islamic State’s rivals in Libya.

In addition to the bombings in Qubba, the Islamic State’s branch in Libya has launched a fresh round of attacks in the city of Sirte. As has become commonplace in Libya, a column of armed Islamic State trucks recently paraded through the city in a show of force. Similar parades have been held in Derna and Nawfaliyah, a town the Islamic State’s followers claimed to have captured, at least temporarily.

The jihadists have reportedly seized control of a university in Sirte, as well as other buildings and facilities.

Photos posted by the Islamic State’s branch in Libya showing today’s suicide bombers and the aftermath of their attacks.

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Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.

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3 Comments

  • sundoesntrise says:

    So I guess this is the “freedom and democracy” that my tax dollars funded back in 2011? It was obvious from the moment it got started that we were being fed a false version of events – regardless of how brutal the old regime was.

    To this day I am still angered that mine and other people’s tax dollars funded a false “democracy” movement which in reality was full of Islamist terrorists. What an absolutely horrific shame.

  • mike merlo says:

    Great news. So are Algeria & Egypt going to ‘team up’ with whatever ‘it’ is that happens to surface in Libya that they are comfortable with & go after those elements in Libya they ‘find’ abhorrent & or a threat to their own Security?

  • James says:

    I say nuke them if need be (beginning with Raqqa in Syria).

    Why couldn’t anyone see this coming? Had we just left a minimal force structure in Iraq and had we helped the Syrian moderates in Syria in a much more timely and effective manner, this whole sorry state of affairs could have (and should have) been avoided.

    This is all part of their plan. Now that they’ve been stopped (at least in the short term and for the most part) from making major geographic advances in Iraq and Syria, they have now resorted to exporting their agents of terror.

    As far as the Syrian moderates are concerned, they may well be all dead now and/or they’ve been radicalized to the point of no return (hopefully, I’m wrong in that assessment). I say impose martial law to shoot on sight these thugs wherever (or in whatever country) they may be. As far as the so-called ‘human rights activists’ are concerned, they can whine till the cows come home.

    Our right to exist is at stake here. We all have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (in that order). First comes life, then comes liberty, and then comes happiness.

    I say also that we let them (and the world) know that we are not accepting any more prisoners. I say they be executed (preferably hung) at the point of capture. This is what they did legally with the Nazis that participated in the Battle of the Bulge.

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