The forces of the Libyan National Army clashed in bloody battles with ISIS members in southern Libya, which resulted in the killing of 19 ISIS militants, according to the statement of the Libyan army.
The Libyan Ministry of the Interior announced in a statement on Thursday, January 27, that three security forces were killed during the battles, which began after an attack by the terrorist organization on a patrol of the Umm al-Aranib Martyrs Brigade near Mount Asida, west of Qatroun, southern Libya.
Earlier, the Libyan National Army indicated that clashes broke out between its forces and ISIS in the outskirts of the city of Qatrun in the south of the country.
Libya is witnessing attempts by ISIS to reposition in the south of the country, to the extent that it managed to control the main road linking the city of Sirte in the north and Sabha in the far south.
ISIS in the south
After the expulsion of ISIS from its stronghold in the city of Sirte in December 2016, the organization’s members were forced to resort to desert valleys and some remote areas, taking advantage of the open desert there, according to a report by the American magazine Foreign Policy.
Over time, these elements were able to reorganize their ranks again by working in groups, riding four-wheel drive vehicles, and traveling in the form of convoys. Each convoy usually consists of five to seven cars, with at least five elements in each car, and they move in fragile, uncontrolled areas.
According to a report by the Libya24 website, ISIS is clinging to its presence in southern Libya for several reasons, including the redeployment in southern Libya, in the context of its desire to compensate for its decline on Libyan soil, by creating a new stronghold that allows it to have a real and organized presence.
Attempts to revive
Also, southern Libya is the only area currently available to ISIS to revive its presence in the country, after its presence almost ended there, especially since the south suffers from wide security vacuums. The terrorist organization also aims to spread in southern Libya in order to expand to neighboring countries, including Chad, Niger and Sudan.
Southern Libya is a fertile area for the growth of extremist groups due to the presence of many ideological legacies, whether from the ideas of al-Qaeda or other extremist currents, which facilitates new elements, whether from inside Libya or from neighboring countries.
In addition, ISIS needs new elements so that it can fill the shortage in its ranks due to the losses it suffered in the past period.