Security experts estimate there are as many as 3,000 fighters loyal to Islamic State in Libya. The country has become one of the primary locations to train with the group outside of Syria and Iraq. Volunteers from Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other countries have flocked here to fight with the extremists and other jihadist organizations. The Islamic State also has succeeded in pulling away members of other Libyan extremist groups.
In the latest signs of their growing strength, Islamic State fighters last month seized the airport and an adjacent air base in Sirte, where they have controlled most government institutions since February. The militants also took over the nearby headquarters of a mammoth network of pipes that pump fresh water to Libyan cities.
Then, on May 31, the militants dispatched a Tunisian suicide bomber to Misurata, 170 miles west of Sirte. He rammed his vehicle into a major security checkpoint, killing five.
Five days later, Islamic State fighters captured the town of Harawah, 46 miles east of Sirte.
Misurata’s militias gained a reputation as some of the country’s toughest fighters during the 2011 uprising. But the powerful militias have been deeply embroiled in a fight against forces aligned with Gen. Khalifa Hifter, the Libyan army chief who declared war on the country’s Islamists in 2014.
[Gen. Hifter, who is leading Libya rebellion, spent years in Northern Virginia:
“These extremist forces were not so strong a few months ago,” said Mohamed Lagha, a Libyan journalist who has reported from Sirte. But “they have continued to grow” and now control most of the city. -THE NEW YORK TIMES
Matthew VanDyke (born circa 1980) is an American documentary filmmaker, revolutionary, and former journalist. He gained notoriety during the Libyan Civil War …
https://twitter.com/mandymoose14/status/607025336027619329 (Esther 4:14)