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ICC Note: Libya has become another powerful base for ISIS even as world powers discuss the new Libyan Unity government to bring back stability in the region.  The ISIS stronghold in Libya is responsible for multiple instances of killing Christians and other minorities (including the 21 Coptic Christians martyred over a year ago), and kidnapping citizens from the countries that surround it.  Egypt’s President Sisi has expressed his concern for the missing Egyptians that have been taken captive in Libya, and has warned Egyptians not to travel near the Libyan border.  In addition to this, the Algerian government recently contained “hundred” of extremists at the airport that were headed to join ISIS in Libya.  The state of Libya’s government has been deteriorating since NATO-allied forces overthrew Gaddafi and the remaining leaders were unable to achieve stability in the interim government.  This led to a reliance on militant Islamist groups which, undoubtedly, sparked a breeding ground for ISIS fighters.  Recent US airstrikes in Libya display the knowledge that their new Northern Africa base is dangerously expanding.  This is especially worrisome for more stable surrounding nations such as Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Egypt who contain good amounts of Christian and other minority populations.

2/21/2016 Libya (N.Y. Times) – The Islamic State’s branch in Libya is deepening its reach across a wide area of Africa, attracting new recruits from countries like Senegal that had been largely immune to the jihadist propaganda — and forcing the African authorities and their Western allies to increase efforts to combat the fast-moving threat.

The American airstrikes in northwestern Libya on Friday, which demolished an Islamic State training camp and were aimed at a top Tunisian operative, underscore the problem, Western officials said. The more than three dozen suspected Islamic State fighters killed in the bombing were recruited from Tunisia and other African countries, officials said, and were believed to be rehearsing an attack against Western targets.

Even as American intelligence agencies say the number of Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria has dropped to about 25,000 from a high of about 31,500, partly because of the United States-led air campaign there, the group’s ranks in Libya have roughly doubled in the same period, to about 6,500 fighters. More than a dozen American and allied officials spoke of their growing concern about the militant organization’s expanding reach from Libya and across Africa on rules of anonymity because the discussions involved intelligence and military planning.

Islamic State leaders in Syria are telling recruits traveling north from West African nations like Senegal and Chad, as well as others streaming up through Sudan in eastern Africa, not to press on to the Middle East. Instead, they are being told to stay put in Libya. American intelligence officials, who described the recent orders from Islamic State leaders, say the organization’s immediate goal is to carve out a new caliphate in Libya, and there are signs the affiliate is trying to establish statelike institutions there.

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