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After suffering numerous setbacks in Syria, the Islamic State (ISIS) has been retreating to Libya – exploiting its open borders and the lack of a central authority.
ISIS profited from the disorder in Syria and Iraq. Such a scenario is happening again in Libya and the chaotic situation offers the same breeding ground for terror, analysts warn.
“Many elements confirm this finding,” political analyst Abdul Hakim told Magharebia. “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a few days ago that Libya is a strategic gateway to the grouping of all the jihadists of the world. This is true especially since it is open and is distinguished by its resources.”
He added: “After the fall of the regime of Moamer Kadhafi, Libya turned into reservoir of fighters and a stage and campground for training jihadist extremist groups.”
Since the noose tightened on radical groups in Syria and elsewhere, fighters began to come to Libya, he said, the country’s appeal to terrorists is evident, Maatouk noted.
“Libya is an open field that is not controlled by the central government. The borders are not monitored. This is what makes it easier to conduct operations in Libya and easily move from Libya to other countries,” the former journalist added.
Fighters come from Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Pakistan and other places and head to Sabratha, Misrata, Sirte and Derna, Maatouk said.
Derna inhabitants proclaimed their allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi months ago, he said.
ISIS also established a headquarters in Sirte, he added.
Signs of ISIS are visible in various criminal acts in the area, he told Magharebia.
“The latest operations are those that targeted the Central Bank of Benghazi … There is also the attack on the Corinthia Hotel,” Maatouk recalled.
Ten people were killed when militants from a group calling itself the Islamic State in Tripoli stormed the Tripoli hotel on January 27th.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya said that ISIS was still small in the country.
“Their presence is virtually non-existent in the eastern part of Libya,” the analyst said
“But we must recognise that young people with ISIS’ ideas are coming to Libya to express support and solidarity,” he added. “It is possible that the number will increase. We hope this does not happen.”
Source : Magharebia