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.