The Libyan National Army (LNA) claims to have captured Hisham al-Ashmawy, a former Egyptian officer who defected to the jihadists’ cause. Ashmawy has been accused of orchestrating jihadist operations in both Egypt and Libya. The Egyptian government alleges that he has been involved in a series of terrorist attacks targeting officials.
Amaq News Agency published a statement conceding that the Islamic State has “retreated” from its positions outside of Derna, Libya but claims the fighters are making progress south of the city.
The Islamic State’s fighters have withdrawn from their positions on the outskirts of Derna, Libya. The so-called “caliphate” faced stiff opposition from pro-al Qaeda jihadist groups in the city.
An infographic in the Islamic State’s Al Naba newsletter highlights the “caliphate’s” fighting against both its jihadist rivals and the Libyan Army in the eastern city of Derna. The Islamic State was forced out of Derna’s center last year, even as it gained ground elsewhere in Libya.
Libya’s air force confirmed that a jet was shot down by anti-aircraft fire earlier today. Ansar al Sharia Libya, which says its fighters were responsible, openly promotes al Qaeda ideologues in its propaganda.
The Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in Derna claims to have captured a top Islamic State leader in Libya. The MSC has been battling the Islamic State in Derna since June, but appears to have the upper hand in the jihadists’ infighting.
AQIM has issued a pair of statements backing the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in Derna against its rivals in the Islamic State. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s men picked a fight with the MSC last month, but have sustained significant losses since then.
In a newly released audio speech, Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al Adnani calls on his group’s rivals (including other jihadists) to “repent,” recognizes a new pledge of allegiance from the Caucasus, and urges Sunnis to fight Shiites throughout the Middle East.
According to multiple reports, the Islamic State’s province in Derna, Libya has lost ground to its jihadist rivals after fighting broke out last week.
Earlier this week, one of the Islamic State’s “provinces” in Libya assassinated a veteran jihadist in Derna. The act sparked intense fighting between Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s followers and al Qaeda-allied jihadists in the city.
Ansar al Sharia Libya now operates a radio station in Benghazi and several Twitter feeds. The group is at war with General Khalifa Haftar’s forces, but is promoting its governance efforts even while in the thick of battle. While a senior sharia official has defected to the Islamic State, there is no indication the group as a whole has followed suit.
One of the Islamic State’s so-called “provinces” in Libya has claimed responsibility for two suicide attacks in the Libyan town of Qubba earlier today. The group says the attacks were retaliation for the airstrikes carried out in nearby Derna.
The United Nations has added the Ansar al Sharia chapters in Benghazi and Derna to its al Qaeda sanctions list, explicitly recognizing their ties to each other, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and other al Qaeda-linked groups.