Libya: Islamic State follows Tobruk’s footsteps and calls for reinforcement
As clashes of government troops in Libya against the Islamic State (IS) militants continue, a video has been released by the extremist group calling for more militants to join them in Libya. Last week, the Tobruk based-government requested brother Arab countries to help it fight the group but the rival government in Tripoli warned that countries should seek its approval before any intervention in the country.
In the IS video, a masked man urged jihadists in Middle East and North Africa to come and fight against the Libyan army and Commander Khalifa Haftar who is heading the forces of the internationally recognized government.
In May 2014, Haftar launched an offensive baptized Operation Dignity that he said was aimed at ending the menace of the “Islamist and terrorist forces” in Benghazi and beyond. His goals are yet to be attained as IS increases its territorial gains in Libya while strategic areas in Benghazi continue to be under the control of the Shura Revolutionary Council, which is linked to Ansar al-Sharia, and Fajr Libya, the coalition loyal to Tripoli.
The man in the video was identified as Abu Ali Jazrawi of Saudi Arabia because of his accent and is believed to be the leader of the IS’s “Tripoli State” branch according to Libyan state news agency LANA. He is relatively unknown when compared to the extremist group’s spiritual leader, a Libyan called Hassan Karami, and Bahrain’s Turki al-Binali who serves as the group’s prominent military leader in Sirte.
Meanwhile, the Arab League is considering the request for airstrikes by the Tobruk-based government. Authorities in Libya have repeatedly lamented that they are poorly armed to fight the Islamic State.