Islamic State Arrives in Libya

The Islamic State’s black flag flies over buildings that house the government. Police cars carry the insignia of the group. A local stadium made for football, is used to carry out public executions. This is all taking place on the Mediterranean coast of Libya.

Fighters loyal to IS in Syria and Iraq have now taken full control of Derna a city of 100,000 close to the border with Egypt and only 200 miles for the southern most European Union shores.

The fighters have taken advantage of the political chaos to expand rapidly their presence to the west along the Libyan coast.

The sources have said that the IS branch in Derna has 800 or more fighters and operates in different camps close to the town, but in the outskirts.

They are also said to have larger facilities located in the Green Mountains nearby, where their fighters from all across North Africa are trained.

The IS Libyan unit has been helped by the return of more than 300 jihadists who had been in both Syria and Iraq. These fighters were supporters of the Shura Council in Derna which is a pro-IS organization.

The council has fought for superiority with Abu Salem Brigade another militant organization. Some of the fighters of that group are loyal to al-Qaeda, said one former jihadist in Libya who is now with a foundation that is counter-terrorism.

The top envoy for al-Qaeda inside Libya Abdulbasit Azuz exited Derna after Special Forces from the U.S. captured alleged ringleader Ahmed Abu Khatallah of the attack in Benghazi. It is believed that Azuz now is inside Syria.

The new wing of IS inside Derna is called Barqa, the name that was given to Libya’s eastern region when the Roman Empire was replaced with Islamic Rule.

The Libyan IS branch has taken a complete grip on the city with control of the courts, its administration, educations as well as local radio.

One news reporter said that Derna now looked like Raqqa the Syria headquarters of IS.

One analysts who specializes in Libya said the IS pose serious threats to Libya and are headed toward the creation of an Islamic emirate inside eastern Libya.

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