IS expands to Libya

[TRIPOLI] The Islamic State group, which has already seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, has now moved into Libya, an increasingly fertile ground for jihadists since dictator Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011.

It has become yet another player in the lawless North African country, where rival governments and militias are already battling for control of territory and massive oil reserves.


November 19: The US State Department says it is "concerned" about reports that radical extremists with avowed ties to IS are destabilising eastern Libya.

November 25: Experts say the eastern town of Derna is emerging as a new stronghold for the IS.

December 3: The top US general in Africa, David Rodriguez, says the IS has set up training camps in eastern Libya, describing their activity as "very small and nascent."

December 13: Islamist militias in Derna say they have formed a new coalition - the Mujahedeen Shura Council.

December 27: A car bomb claimed by IS explodes outside the diplomatic security building in Tripoli causing no casualties.


January 8: The Libyan branch of IS claims to have killed two Tunisian journalists - Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari - who went missing in September.

January 17: Assailants lob explosives at Algeria's embassy in Tripoli, wounding three people, in an attack claimed by the IS.

January 27: IS claims an attack on Tripoli's luxury Corinthia Hotel, which is known for hosting foreign diplomats and Libyan officials. Nine people are killed, including an American, a French national, a South Korean and two Filipinos.

February 12: Gunmen claiming to be members of IS seize a state-run radio station in Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, where they also set up a headquarters, according to jihadist sites and witnesses.

February 15: The IS releases a video showing the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians, mostly Egyptians, that the jihadists say they captured in Libya in January.

February 16: Warplanes from Egypt and the internationally recognised Libya government carry out air strikes on IS targets in Libya.

February 18: Italy warns about the danger of IS establishing a stronghold in Libya, 350km from its shores, from where it could attack Europe and destabilise neighbouring states.

The West ruled out, for the moment, military action against IS in Libya, arguing for a political solution already being sought under the auspices of the UN.

February 19: Jihadists claiming affiliation with the IS take over the university in Sirte, leading it to suspend classes and postpone exams, a professor says.

A day earlier dozens of gunmen paraded through the streets of the Mediterranean coastal city in a convoy.

February 20: The IS claims responsibility for suicide car bombings in Al-Qoba, near Derna, that kill at least 40, including six Egyptian workers. It says the attacks are to avenge losses in the air strikes earlier in the week.


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