IS claims deadly attack on Libya strongman's forces

IS claims deadly attack on Libya strongman's forces
At least nine people were killed and 11 taken hostage in the attack in the desert town of Tazerbo.
2 min read
24 November, 2018
The attack is the second claimed by IS in a month targeting Haftar forces [Getty]

The Islamic State group on Saturday claimed responsibility for an attack on militia forces in southeastern Libya that saw at least nine people killed and 11 taken hostage. 

The assault in the desert town of Tazerbo on Friday targeted security service members loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, who heads the self-styled Libyan National Army. 

A statement released by IS propaganda arm Amaq said its fighters had captured a number of "officers" and killed and wounded 29 members of Haftar's militia during fighting.

A senior security official told AFP Friday that nine security service members were killed and eleven people including civilians and a commander were "kidnapped".

The attack is the second claimed by IS in less than a month targeting forces loyal to Haftar.

The first killed at least five people in October in the central Kufra region.

Another attack in August claimed by IS killed 11 people including nine members of the LNA.

Torn apart by power struggles and undermined by chronic insecurity, Libya has become a haven for jihadists since the ouster and killing of Moammer Gaddafi in 2011.

IS took advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the city of Sirte in 2015 but forces loyal to a UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) resumed control of the city in December 2016 after eight months of deadly fighting.

Since then, some jihadists have returned to the desert in an attempt to regroup and reorganise.

In September, IS claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the headquarters of Libya's National Oil Company in the heart of Tripoli which left two dead and 10 wounded.

Four months earlier, it claimed an attack on the electoral commission's headquarters which left 14 dead.