Islamic State fighters overrun checkpoint in Libya, behead captives

Jihadists loyal to the Islamic State’s arm in Libya overran a checkpoint manned by the Libyan National Army (LNA) yesterday. LNA officials confirmed that at least 11 people were beheaded after the raid.

The so-called caliphate’s Amaq News Agency claimed that 21 members of General Khalifa Haftar’s “militia” were “killed and wounded in an attack by Islamic State fighters on a checkpoint” in the Jufra region.

LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari told the press that Amaq’s claim was generally accurate. “The terrorist organization Daesh (Islamic State) attacked al-Fogha checkpoint in Jufra region this morning, killing nine soldiers and two civilians were slaughtered,” Mismari said, according to Reuters. Mismari added that the 11 people were beheaded.

The Jufra region is in the middle of Libya, south of the city of Sirte, which served as the Islamic State’s stronghold in North Africa until late last year. Local Libyan forces, backed by the US and its allies, pushed the jihadists out of Sirte over the course of several months.

The State Department reported in July that the Islamic State’s Libyan branch had “as many as 6,000 fighters in its ranks” as of early 2016, but “more than 1,700 ISIS terrorists were killed during the Sirte counterterrorism operations.”

This left the group with approximately 4,300 fighters, at least some of whom have stayed in Libya. It is not clear how many Islamic State loyalists are still in the country. But State confirmed that “many members of the terrorist organization fled to Libya’s western and southern deserts, abroad, or into neighboring urban centers.” [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, How many fighters does the Islamic State still have in Libya?]

The attack in the Jufra region yesterday confirms that the organization continues to operate well south of its former safe haven along the Mediterranean coast. Since the loss of Sirte, the jihadists have been reorganizing for future operations.

It is certainly possible, if not likely, that the jihadists recorded the beheadings for use in propaganda. In Feb. 2015, the Islamic State released a gruesome video documenting the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians along the coast. The video was used to announce the Islamic State’s growing presence in the country, frighten its local opponents and threaten the West. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, 21 Egyptian Christians executed in Islamic State video.]

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

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  • Nick Mastrovito says:

    When are we going to put an end to these barbarians?

  • Paddy Singh says:

    Boris Johnson says Libya in chaos. He should tell that to Cameron who brought the chaos about and now indifferent to what he did.

  • MikeyParks says:

    Boy, I don’t care what you say, Muslims sure are good beheaders!

  • Dave Roberts says:

    Libya has been an anarchic state ever since the US and the EU decided that we would assist in the overthrowing of Gaddafi. Disaster has been the result ever since with country divided between several militias, which has permitted the continual flow of refugees to Europe. In hindsight, it’s tempting that to think that this result was foreseen and intentional.

    The controlling forces in the US (other than President Trump), the UN and the EU are globalist in their worldview, and therefore chaos and internal divisions within countries are their goal. They look for the people to tire of unrest and look for any replacement force that offers peace and security.

  • Conradswims says:

    Liberated Libya! Wahoo!

  • Conradswims says:

    The solution, at least part of it, is for the Muslims to have a reformation. We can’t stop this! only Muslims can.

  • James says:

    Hang those thugs on the spot (at the point of capture). Like the allies did to the Nazis that participated in the Battle of the Bulge. (Maybe at best give them the benefit of a short, makeshift military tribunal.) These kind of individuals need to be eliminated. They need to be gone and forgotten. This is a matter of our survival. This is a matter of our right to exist.

  • Frank Dunn says:

    Shouldn’t Hillary Clinton conduct a book signing in Benghazi for her latest book, “What Happened”? She could sign book for the heavily armed but always spontaneous demonstrators who can scrape up $14.99 plus tax and handling charges. First 100 buyers would also receive free copies of the most obscure but most mentioned video that Hillary blamed for the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and the 3 brave Americans who tried to rescue him.

    But at this point, what difference does it make?

  • irebukeu says:

    Frank, don’t you actually mean “Why don’t the Political hacks that create and spin fake news stories and created the Benghazi conspiracy, do a book signing for their latest book ‘What Happened’ “?
    The truth matters, facts and details matter. Too many lies have been told about that videos lack of connection to the attack in Benghazi Sept 11, 2012. So many lies in fact that people I know to be truthful have been repeating them. In my personal life I have been able to correct a few using facts and reason. Frank, I swear I can help you right here.
    Frank, that video was the direct motivation for the attackers of Benghazi that very night. Oh, and the exact reason the defenders gave, the Libyan militia, for not defending and running away? was again, yep, that dang video. So Frank, if you want to talk about Benghazi or that video for a couple comments, I would be happy be speak about it and will stick to source-able information and reply within one day.
    I predicted that after the election in 2012 Benghazi would be kicked to the winds in the congress or as a political talking point and would be moved to a callback status but I was wrong. It took the election of a Republican president to finally bury the topic.
    You never hear anything anymore about Benghazi and now it will only be another callback card for Islamist’s mentioning the video and whatever fake outrage they have been able to spin from it to recruit in their world and the fake news spinners and the people spun, ‘ginning’ people up in another, like the way you just did.
    Perhaps here? Perhaps you could represent the fake facts/news side, or the Republican talking points side since one drew so much from the other. Did you you get spun or were you spinning? Lets get into the weeds and see.

  • irebukeu says:

    Don’t worry. Col. oops, I meant General Khalifa Haftar’s on the job. He is our man with the plan.

  • Nato21 says:

    Right on Dave! The only plan was to take Gaddafi out. Now we’re left with an alphabet soup of jihadi groups trying to claim parts, or all, of Libya. There is no government and the forecast for a Libyan government any time in the near future is : NOT BLOODY LIKELY.


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