A militia fighting on behalf of Libya’s UN-backed government has warned that Isis militants are regrouping in order to launch a new attack on the city of Misrata, the country’s trade capital.
“We have spotted movements by Daesh in the south of Sirte, where they are trying to regroup and break through our forces’ lines in the south,” Mohamed Ghasri, spokesperson and senior commander of the Misrata-based al-Bunyan al-Marsous forces, said on Wednesday.
The militia was a key force in helping drive Isis out of the coastal city of Sirte last year after a gruelling six-month-long campaign aided by US air strikes.
Al-Bunyan al-Marsous now believes an attack on the port city is imminent as Mr Ghasri warned that his troops have lacked international support to fend off Isis since driving them from Sirte city in 2015.
Isis’s leaders in the country are now operating in the southern Sirte countryside. Mr Ghasri did not give details on how many fighters Isis is believed to be readying for a fresh assault on Misrata.
The civil war that has engulfed Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has allowed warlords and extremists to gain footholds across the country.
A new round of diplomacy between the internationally recognised government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and rival eastern commander Khalifa Haftar began on Tuesday. A ceasefire has been implemented – except in the fight against terrorist organisations – and elections are possibly on the table in talks in Paris by the French government.
Faced with a string of military defeats in its “caliphate” across Syria and Iraq, observers believe Isis will concentrate on its operations in countries such as Libya, which face power vacuums, and step up terror attacks on civilians worldwide.