IS Beheads 12 in Libya

IS Beheads 12 in LibyaIS Beheads 12 in Libya

Islamic State militants have beheaded 12 people and hung them on crosses during a battle for the coastal Libyan city of Sirte, the national news agency LANA reported Saturday.

The fighting for control of Sirte, hometown of ousted autocrat Muammar Gaddafi, has been raging since Tuesday, with one top Libyan diplomat warning of a "massacre" in the city, AFP reported. LANA said the 12 people beheaded were local gunmen who had been battling IS in the eastern Sirte district known as "neighborhood three."

The agency also reported that IS militants executed 22 other Sirte residents who had taken up arms against the militant group as they lay wounded in a city hospital.

The fighting typifies the chaos in the oil-producing country, where two governments are battling for control, four years after the ousting of Gaddafi. The ambassador of Libya's UN-backed government to France, Chibani Abuhamoud, said on Friday that fighting in Sirte had left between 150 and 200 dead.

"A real massacre is taking place, and we call on the international community to intervene," the diplomat said.

Media loyal to the Tripoli authorities said warplanes were bombing armed groups linked to IS in Sirte. Libya has two governments fighting each other for power, while IS and other armed groups carve out their own fiefdoms. The United Nations brought the main warring factions together in Geneva this week but the diplomacy has been overtaken by fighting between groups not present at the negotiating table.