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35 African nationals captives of IS in Sirte were released from Misrata prison.

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Libyan authorities released on Wednesday 28 Eritreans and seven Nigerians who were captured and enslaved by Islamic State in Sirte and had been held in detention since the jihadist group lost the city in December. The group of women had been kidnapped by IS when they tried to flew to Europe. They escaped from Sirte, but they had been jailed in Misrata prison during several months, after the conquest of the city by Misrata groups. According to the victims, conditions in Misrata was really difficult, they suffered of starvation and humiliation. They are now under UNHCR’s protections.

 

AFRICOM: military operations against IS/DAESH concluded

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has announced that it has concluded its military operations against IS/DAESH . In partnership with the Libyan Government of National Accord, the operation succeeded in its core objective of enabling GNA-aligned forces to drive Daesh out of Sirte. This comes after eight months of fighting in Sirte taking the lives of at least 712 Bunyan Marsous fighters and the wounding of 3,210 more.

The wife of AQIM’s head captured near the town of Mechili

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The wife of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the Algerian-born head of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), is reported to have been tracked down and arrested near the desert town of Mechili, some 100 kilometres south of Beida. She and another Tunisian woman, together with their driver, were caught heading towards Jufra, south of Sirte, according to the Libyan news agency LANA. It quotes the spokesman of the Beida government’s anti-terrorism and subversion directorate, Sami Al-Matrih, saying that the women were ambushed following a tip-off. It is being suggested that they were on their way to meet Belmokhtar in southern Libya. There is no other confirmation of the report, however. A number of reports claim that Belmokhtar was the prime target of the air raid on Gurdah Al-Shatti six days ago in which a number of AQIM fighters were said to have been killed. Although the anti-terrorism directorate has said that the one of the two Tunisian women arrested is Belmokhtar’s wife, it has not named her.

The defeat in Sirte would damage Daesh

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After six months of heavy fighting, Libyan forces have advanced so deep into the strategic city of Sirte that they can pick out the Tunisian and Egyptian accents of their Daesh enemies as they trade insults over the frontline. Victory is imminent on this remote front of the war against Daesh, with the last few militants staging a last stand in a small area of just one square kilometre (0.4 square mile), US and Libyan officials say. But the battle has been long and hard, and holds lessons for US backed forces trying to force Daesh out of the much larger Iraqi city of Mosul more than 2,500 km (1,500 miles) away. “We faced unbelievable resistance. They won’t leave their posts even when houses are collapsing on them,” said Osama Issa, a 37-year-old businessman fighting with Libyan forces in Ghiza, the last neighbourhood of Sirte that Daesh holds. “They know they will die anyway so they fight well.” Defeat in Sirte will damage Daesh’s ability to show it is expanding globally and deprive it of a foothold outside Iraq and Syria. Losing it and Mosul in quick succession would dent its morale and possibly its ability to recruit followers.

Sirte, US could have destroyed Sirte IS within hours had it wanted

Middle East - Africa di

A Bunyan Marsous commander stated that the United States saying that its airstrikes in Sirte have been “useless” and that if Washington had really wanted to, it could have destroyed IS positions and liberated Sirte within a few hours. The claim came today from Brigadier Ibrahim Bait, the spokesman for Misrata’s military council.

He added that America had the technology to end the terrorists’ resistance in a matter of hours, not months. He insisted that warplanes launched from Misrata were more effective than US aircraft in clearing the way for BM forces on the ground.

The US has now launched more than 200 strikes by fast jets, drones and helicopters, the majority believed to be from the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp.  Its operations began in August at the request of the Presidency Council. On Monday the Pentagon announced the strikes would continue for another month and indicated that he would now finding everywhere IS terrorists in Libya. The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has resumed to hit tanks, truck bombs and terrorist strong points.

Libya: doubts about initial agreement

Middle East - Africa di

Almost a month after the end of Bernardino Leon’s role, GNC announced that it reached an initial agreement with Tobruk to lead a national unity government and elections. The draft, signed in Tunis on November 6, includes the creation of a committee of ten, equally shared between Tripoli and Tobruk, which will elect the new prime minister and two vice presidents.

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A deal which, although out of the UN draft of last October, was positively received by the UN envoy Martin Kobler and Italy. Indeed, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said that his country “is ready to do its part.”

Since the first international conference on Libya in Rome on December 13, Italy will try to have a leading role in this crucial context, supported by the United States, but also by Russia, which, through its Foreign Minister Lavrov, said that Moscow “is ready to help Italy in Libya.”

As in Vienna after Paris attacks and raid on Raqqa, even this summit in Rome is very important. In addition to terror threat in Europe, an Iranian news agency reported that caliph al Baghdadi moved from Turkey to Libya last October. So, after French military reaction in Syria, now Italy and EU have to define what to do in Libya. Daesh is located almost 300 kilometres from Italian coast.
Giacomo Pratali

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Nigeria-Libya: one-way trip

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The Multi National Joint Task Force announced deployment of nearly 9000 units against Boko Haram, after 200 victims in the last two weeks. The same Boko is ready to support Daesh in Sirte.

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8700 soldiers deployed against Boko Haram. It is what was announced on 26 August by coalition Multi National Joint Task Force, composed of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin. Especially the first three countries, are increasingly involved in fights with Islamist organization affiliated ISIS.

A measure that could be late. Borno State is epicenter of clashes between Islamist troops and army, which caused at least 200 civilian casualties in the last two weeks. An answer to many people freed by Nigerian army in the same time.

But there is another feature. In addition to refugees on the run from these continuous massacres and headed for Libya, there is another route towards Sirte. As reported by many international media, the Libyan sources have estimated that “200 Boko Haram militants would be ready to join the ranks of the Isis.”

State of Borno, Lake Chad, Cameroon and now Sirte. The Caliphate network is enlarging. And the methods of terror, already witnessed in the villages Nigerians, Chadians and Cameroonians, is the same in Sirte. Just a few days ago, spiritual leader of Islamic State Hassan Karami announced in the mosque in Rabat: “We’ll behead rebels of the opposition after the Friday prayers, people of Sirte deliver their daughters fighters that get married. ”

Harsh words which show how Islamic State has taken root in Sirte from June to today. Mosques, institutions and media are in their hands. And victims, deriving from Libya Fajr, Brigades of Misrata and other Libyan groups, is the evidence that the lack of national unity is a Daesh advantage.
Giacomo Pratali

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Libya: action plan is ready

The governments of Italy, Germany, Britain, France, Spain and the United States have appealed against Isis attacks in Sirte. Waiting for Tripoli choice, new action plan, led by Italy and under the aegis of Un aegis, has come to light: infrastructure protection and building, UN peacekeepers, training of army.

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Over 200 dead and at least 500 injured as a result of the clashes last week in Sirte. ISIS militants have left behind a trail of blood and horror. Crimes, like the crucifixion of 12 Salafist militants or 22 hospital patients died as a result of a fire set by jihadists, which branded as “genocide” by Tobruk government.

“We are deeply concerned by reports that speak of indiscriminate shelling of densely populated districts of the city and acts of violence in order to terrorize the people – governments of Italy, Germany, Britain, France, Spain and the United States in a unique statement said – . We appeal to all factions Libyan who want a unified country in peace and to join forces to combat the threat posed by transnational terrorist groups that exploit Libya for their own purposes, “.

The need for national unity government, called by the International Community, is extremely topical. The United Nations eagerly awaiting the decision of Tripoli, after agreement between the other factions. There is a plan to be implemented to halt the advance of the Isis in Libya.

There are rumors of a military intervention led by Italy and under the aegis of United Nations since a few months. An action plan already drawn up by Italian Foreign Ministry Paolo Gentiloni, to which ambassador Bernardino Leon is working hard, especially after the capture of Sirte, the massacres and the migration emergency.

As revealed in the last hour, this action plan concerns next stage after national unity government constitution. First, the executive should make an official request for international aid. So, it could lead to the financial and military support to stabilize Libya and fight the Islamic State.

As well as subsidies for infrastructures like roads and airports, and security of oil and gas installations, the topic would be Un peacekeepers intervention and the training of Libyan army.

Institutional, political and economical stabilization of Libya are necessary for immigration drop to Italy and Greece and defeat of Isis, as explained by Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gentiloni: “Agreement for a national government Libya, with International Community support, remains the only possibility to fight extremist violence and the deterioration of the humanitarian and economical situation in the country. “Tripoli must hurry. Time goes faster.

Giacomo Pratali

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Giacomo Pratali
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