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20 killed in Daesh, rivals clashes in eastern Libya

20 killed in Daesh, rivals clashes in eastern Libya

Fighting erupted in the city of Derna after a leader in the Daesh umbrella group Majlis Al Shura was killed, apparently for refusing to swear allegiance to Daesh's leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.



By (Reuters)

Published: Wed 10 Jun 2015, 10:23 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:08 PM

BENGHAZI - At least 20 fighters were killed in clashes in eastern Libya between Daesh and another force that later declared jihad against its hardline rival, residents and medical sources said on Wednesday.

Forces loyal to the official government later sent an air strike against suspected Daesh positions in Derna, said Nasser Al Hassi, spokesman for Benghazi’s air base.

Fighting erupted in the city of Derna after a leader in the Daesh umbrella group Majlis Al Shura was killed, apparently for refusing to swear allegiance to Daesh's leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, according to residents.

Daesh and other militant groups have thrived in Libya since two governments began fighting for control of the oil producer, leaving a security vacuum four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.

The rapid rise in Libya of Daesh, which first emerged in Syria and Iraq, is worrying Western powers who fear the militant group will forge a base just across the Mediterranean from mainland Europe.

The fighting in Derna lasted until Wednesday, by which time Salem Derbi, a Majlis leader, two other leaders and around 18 Daesh fighters had been killed, medical sources said.

Majlis Al Shura later declared war on Daesh. The battle appears to have been the largest yet between Daesh and rivals in Derna.

“We, the Derna council, have warned those Daesh militants to stop their criminal acts but they were committing even more crimes,” the statement said.

Pictures on social media were posted as showing a building linked to Daesh being bombed by a war plane taking off from a Benghazi air base belonging to the internationally recognised government.

Daesh has expanded its territory to include the whole of the central city of Sirte, and Harwa to the east. The group has carried out attacks on oilfields and embassies and also claimed the killing of dozens of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians.

Angry supporters of the Majlis Al Shura stormed several buildings held by Daesh during the fighting, while shops closed and frightened residents stayed indoors on Wednesday, according to residents.

Libya is in chaos as two governments controlling limited territory fight each other, with Daesh attacking forces of both administrations.

The official government has been based in the east since losing the capital in August to rival group Libya Dawn.


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