Attack puts Islamic State group on defensive in Libya

Attack puts Islamic State group on defensive in Libya
Islamic State group fighters have taken heavy casualties in fierce fighting that pushed the group out of most of the eastern Libyan city of Derna.
2 min read
22 June, 2015
The IS now only controls part of eastern Derna [Getty]
Dozens of fighters from the Islamic State group (IS) were killed in Libya on Saturday as militia groups sought to dislodge them from a neighbourhood in the eastern city of Derna, the Libyan news agency Lana has reported.

For more than a week, fighters belonging to a group known as the Mujahedeen Council of Derna have been attacking fighters allied to the Islamic State group in the city.

"Armed men" were trying on Saturday morning to drive IS forces out of Derna's eastern district of Fataeh, said the news agency. "There were dozens of deaths in the IS ranks," Lana reported.

It is not clear who these "armed men" are, or with which of the factions in Libya's civil war they are aligned.

Lana, with links to the militia-backed government in Tripoli that is not recognised by the international community, said Fataeh was the last IS bastion in Derna, suggesting that the group's fighters had already been driven from the rest of the city.

IS has had a significant presence in Derna since the end of 2014 - it was the first city in Libya to fall under IS control.

Libya descended into chaos after a revolt unseated longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

It now has rival governments and parliaments, as well as powerful militias battling for influence and a share of its oil wealth.