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ICC NOTE: The Islamic State has begun to coalesce in much greater numbers in the North African nation of Libya. The nation had fought a civil war to oust former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, but since his removal the nation has been in turmoil with various factions vying for power. The lack of a cohesive central government has allowed for IS to grab a substantial foothold in the region. They have solidified control of the former dictators hometown of Sirte which sits on the Libyan coast. The threat to the Libyan people is obvious as thousands are forced into re-education classes, many are publicly beheaded and crucified for defying IS. Since Libya is a major port of entry for the countless refugees entering Europe’s southern regions, the threat has increased for nations like Italy, Spain, and France. European leaders are discussing possible strategies to deal with the rising threat in Libya and will be something to keep an eye on in the coming months. 

2/4/2016 Libya (BBC) – Senior commanders from so-called Islamic State (IS) have moved to Libya from Iraq and Syria recently, a top Libyan intelligence official says.
The official told BBC Newsnight that increasing numbers of foreign fighters had arrived in the city of Sirte.
Representatives from 23 countries met in Rome on Tuesday to discuss the growing threat from IS in Libya.
IS took control of Sirte, the hometown of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, last year.
Disagreements between rival administrations in the country have hampered efforts to fight IS.
The Islamist group is believed to have received support from some loyalists of the former regime.
But Ismail Shukri, the head of intelligence in the city of Misrata, told Newsnight there had been an influx of foreign fighters in recent months.
“The majority [of IS fighters in Sirte] are foreigners, around 70%. Most of them are Tunisians, followed by Egyptians, Sudanese and a few Algerians.
“Add to that the Iraqis and the Syrians. Most of the Iraqis come from Saddam Hussein’s disbanded army.”
Mr Shukri said senior IS commanders were taking refuge in Libya, under pressure from international airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
“Some of their members, especially those with long-term importance to IS, are taking refuge here. They view Libya as a safe haven.”
Members of forces loyal to Libya’s Islamist-backed parliament General National Congress (GNC) prepare to launch attacks as they continue to fight Islamic State (IS) group jihadists on the outskirts of Libya’s western city of Sirte on March 16, 2015Image copyrightGetty Images
Authorities in Misrata say they are preparing an offensive against Islamic State militants in Sirte.
But in the town of Abugrein, 120km (75 miles) south of Misrata, the BBC saw little evidence of an imminent confrontation.
Abugrein represents the final line of defence against IS. Beyond that, IS controls the road east.
Commanders in Abugrein told Newsnight that their forces, loyal to the government in Tripoli, numbered around 1,400 – less than half the estimated strength of IS.
Mohammed al-Bayoudi, a commander with Battalion 166, acknowledged that, without international help, they would not be able to defeat IS.
“Certainly we would welcome Nato support. But air strikes alone cannot defeat IS. What the army really needs is logistical support.”
The prospect of international military involvement in Libya is a vexed topic. The United States has acknowledged that it has sent in small numbers of special forces on at least one occasion in recent weeks.
Similar groups from other Nato countries are also understood to be exploring potential local allies on the ground for a looming battle with IS.

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