Recent attacks by ISIS in Iraq and Libya have underscored the persistence of the militant group despite the air strikes raining down on them from the United States and its allies. The air campaign against the militants has been going on for nearly a month with little success. ISIS has continued to gain ground in both Libya and Iraq, much to the dismay of the coalition fighting against it.
The Sunni extremists of the Islamic State are often supported by the Iraqi Sunni minority, who have been disillusioned by the Shiite-dominated government and years of corruption. In Libya, ISIS has moved into the vacuum created by the competition of two militia factions fighting for control of the country. Each of the factions has established their own government and has been so consumed with fighting each other that they have paid little attention to the incursion from ISIS.
The militant group has recently staged attacks in multiple areas of Iraq. A local council building in Amariya al Falluja was attacked by two gunmen wearing suicide vests. The city is about 37 miles southwest of Baghdad and one of the last cities under government control in Anbar Province. Iraqi troops have fought against the ISIS militants on the outskirts of Amariya al Falluja for months. Islamic State militants also captured the major city of Ramadi three weeks ago.
The group has also struck hard neat the Libyan city of Surt, capturing a critical power plant. The capture of the power plant means that ISIS could cut off electricity to areas in the central and western regions of the country or use the threat of such as a bargaining chip.
The loss was the second significant retreat in less than two weeks by the armed militia protecting Libyan cities at the behest of the provisional government in the capital, Tripoli. The militia claimed that it had been forced into a retreat after an early morning attack by the Islamic State militants cost the group five fighters. It was also reported that the militia had received no support from the government in Tripoli in the incident.