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Libya: Islamic State executes government troops
January 4, 2015, 6:00 am

A coalition of Islamist fighters seized control of the capital Tripoli and its airport on August 24 after two months of ongoing battles [Xinhua]

A coalition of Islamist fighters seized control of the capital Tripoli and its airport on August 24 after two months of ongoing battles [Xinhua]


The Libyan government announced late Saturday that 14 of its soldiers had been killed by what it classified as militia belonging to the Islamic State (of Iraq and the Levant), or ISIL.

“Members of IS staged an attack… during which they executed 14 members of the Libyan army belonging to the infantry battalion 168,” the government said in a statement from its base in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city.

The government and its military were forced out of the capital Tripoli after losing fierce battles to Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamist militias last summer.

The soldiers were ambushed north of Sabha, southern Libya’s largest city.

Western intelligence agencies have since 2012 charted several Libyan volunteers who took arms with various Islamist groups fighting the Syrian government.

As ISIL gained strength and influence, most of these groups swore allegiance to the self-styled caliphate and in the process Libyan fighters may have added to the extremist group’s ranks.

According to media reports, a website called Islamic State in Libya claimed responsibility for executing the 14 soldiers.

Libya has been in a state of civil war and instability since Muammar Qaddafi was removed from power and killed.

During the past two years, Islamist militia once allied with dissident forces moved to seize control of key Libyan cities, managing to capture the capital after fierce fighting in August.

Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has continued to warn of a humanitarian and refugee crises in the country, with alarm raised over the number of civilians internally displaced as they flee the fighting.

The BRICS POST with input from agencies

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