Libya groups clash with ISIS in eastern city

An armed motorcade belonging to members of Derna's Islamic Youth Council, consisting of former members of militias from the town of Derna.

An armed motorcade belonging to members of Derna’s Islamic Youth Council, consisting of former members of militias from the town of Derna.

Gunmen including militant fighters battled extremists from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group on Sunday south of Libya’s eastern coastal city of Derna, media and ISIS said.

Reports of the clashes come a day after the Pentagon announced the killing of a senior ISIS extremist in Libya in an air strike carried out by a U.S. F-15 warplane.

Abu Nabil, also known as Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al-Zubaydi, was the senior ISIS leader in Libya and may also have been the spokesman in a grisly video showing the execution of Coptic Christians earlier this year, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.

Libyan authorities have not commented on the U.S. announcement, and there has been no immediate reaction to it from the ISIS group in Libya.

ISIS, which already controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, has exploited the chaos that has spread across Libya since veteran dictator Muammar Qaddafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 uprising.

The group entered Derna a year ago but said in July it had lost control of the city after weeks of fierce fighting with members of the Mujahedeen Council of Derna.

Its gunmen ousted ISIS from many areas of the city controlled for more than a year by armed groups including Ansar al-Sharia, which is close to al-Qaeda.

According to media reports on Sunday, including al-Nabaa television, the Mujahedeen Council of Derna has launched a new campaign to drive ISIS out of the region.

It said the latest clashes were taking place in Al-Fatayeh, 20km south of Derna.


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