IS Forced Out of Key Libyan City

IS Forced Out of Key Libyan CityIS Forced Out of Key Libyan City

Militants from the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group have been pushed out of the key eastern city of Derna, a rival group has said.

IS “have all left Derna; they have no presence here anymore”, Hafeth al-Dabaa, a spokesman for Derna Mujahideen Shura Council told BBC.

The Al-Qaeda linked DMSC is an umbrella group for local militias. Derna has seen a three-way conflict involving IS, DMSC and forces loyal to Libya’s eastern government.

Since 2014, Libya has had two competing governments—one in the capital Tripoli and another in the eastern city of Tobruk.

A new UN-brokered unity government is trying to restore peace in the country, which has been ravaged by conflict since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The DMSC’s claim has not been independently verified.

Dabaa said five DMSC fighters and six civilians had been killed in fighting in Derna’s Fatayiah area in the past 24 hours.

Pictures on social media websites have been circulating since Wednesday, showing Derna residents celebrating in the port city.

“It was intense yesterday in Fatayiah with the DMSC battling IS, and there was also some bombardment by the air force in the city. Today the DMSC can be seen manning checkpoints throughout the city,” one Derna resident said.

The resident was referring to overnight airstrikes carried out by forces loyal to the eastern government.

Dabaa said the city prison that held suspected IS militants had been bombed. The spokesman added that some of the inmates had managed to escape but most of them were later recaptured.

Army spokesman Abdulkarim Sabra said the airstrikes had targeted the DMSC in Derna’s Sayeda Khadija neighborhood and at Bishr prison, Reuters reported.

IS established a base in Derna in October 2015 and fully controlled the city until June that year. Derna was a militant stronghold in the 1980s and 1990s during the insurgency against Gaddafi.