Four dead after IS attacks central Libyan town, torches police station

Four dead after IS attacks central Libyan town, torches police station
At least four people died during the Islamic State's attack on Al-Fuqaha, south of the extremist group's former bastion of Sirte.
2 min read
29 October, 2018
Libya plunged into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising [Getty]

Islamic State militants attacked a small town in central Libya, killing at least four people, according to residents.

The mayor's son was among the dead in Monday's attack, which also saw the town's police station torched.

The residents of Al-Fuqaha said the attack took place overnight, and that a dozen residents are also missing. The town is south of the coastal city of Sirte, a former IS bastion.

IS jihadists overran Sirte in June 2015 and were ousted by forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed government in December 2016, after an eight-month battle.

The group has since pulled back to desert outposts, although it is still able to launch deadly attacks.

Monday's attack underlines the shifting strategy of IS, which after losing territory in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East, has ramped up its armed attacks against remote outposts. 

IS, as well as other armed groups, are also increasingly operating as highway robbers or attack patrols of the self-styled Libyan National Army. 

Last month, IS claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the Tripoli headquarters of Libya's National Oil Corporation that killed two staffers, as well as an assault in May on the country's electoral commission in which 14 people were killed.

In April, the government launched a military operation to track down the remaining IS members operating in western Libya. The US army meanwhile continues to launch strikes against militants, particularly in southern Libya.

Libya plunged into chaos after the 2011 uprising and is now governed by rival administrations, based in the country's east and west.

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