Tripoli (AFP) – Dozens of fighters from the Islamic State group were killed in Libya Saturday as militiamen sought to dislodge them from a neighbourhood in the eastern city of Derna, Libyan news agency Lana reported.
For more than a week now, fighters belonging to a group known as the Mujahedeen Council of Derna have been attacking elements of the radical Sunni Muslim group in the city.
« Armed men » were trying Saturday morning to drive IS forces out of Derna’s eastern district of Fataeh, Lana said, and « there were dozens of deaths in the IS ranks. »
Lana, with links to the militia-backed government in Tripoli that is not recognised by the international community, said Fataeh was « IS’s last bastion in Derna, » suggesting that the group’s fighters had been driven out of the rest of the city.
IS has had a significant presence in Derna since the end of 2014.
Libya descended into chaos after a revolt unseated longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. It now has rival governments and parliaments, as well as powerful militias battling for influence and a share of its oil wealth.