IS group kills Sirte fighters in latest Libya attack

IS group kills Sirte fighters in latest Libya attack
3 min read
25 March, 2015
Five dead in Libya's Sirte, a day after the Islamic State group claimed it carried out double suicide car-bombing that killed at least seven in Benghazi.
Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of Gaddafi [AFP/Getty]

The Islamic State group killed five Islamist militia fighters in an attack on a checkpoint Wednesday in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, a local official said.

The fighters were part of the "Brigade 166" loyal to the Islamist-backed Tripoli government and have engaged in sporadic fighting with IS fighters around Sirte.

"Fierce clashes erupted in the early morning and the Islamic State fighters were repelled," brigade spokesman Khaled Abou Jizya said.

Meanwhile, in an audio message posted online, IS claimed it carried out a double suicide car-bombing that killed at least seven soldiers in Benghazi on Tuesday.

Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The country has had two rival governments since August 2014, when the "Libya Dawn" militia seized Tripoli, set up its own parliament and forced the internationally recognised government to flee to Tobruk.

Peace talks

The UN meanwhile delivered a six-point proposal on Tuesday to end such bloodshed at meetings in Tripoli and Tobruk.

The UN mission in Libya said the proposal by envoy Bernardino Leon was the "basis from which the parties can work" towards a solution.

The UN mission said a settlement was urgently needed to prevent "widespread confrontation and deeper division in which terrorism will become a serious threat to the country and the region".

The proposals speak of a unity government headed by a president and a presidential council of independent figures, along with a parliament representative of all Libyans and a high state council.

A national security council and a municipalities council would also be created. An existing constitutional drafting committee will also be part of the transitional period.

All will operate for a "transitional period whose duration will be agreed on by the parties and will end with new elections that will come after the approval of the constitution and referendum," UNSMIL said.

The mission noted that the proposals were "first and foremost Libyan and formulated after wide discussions" that address the concerns of all sides and call on the sides to "make concessions".

Leon has been working with representatives of the rival parliaments to try to reach a deal in talks this month in Skhirat, Morocco.

"There is a chance that we can make progress and have the first names for a unity government this week," Leon said Monday in Brussels.

"It is going to be a difficult discussion and I wouldn't like expectations to be too high, bearing in mind how difficult the situation is on the ground. But there is a possibility and we will do our best to reach there by the end of this week."

UNSMIL said Leon would return to Skhirat "hopeful that the parties are ready to expedite the talks".

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