Libya’s state news agency LANA reported on Sunday that dozens of fighters from ISIS were killed by local militiamen in clashes for the control of a neighborhood in the group’s stronghold of Derna.
LANA reported that militiamen from the Tripoli-allied Mujahedeen Council of Derna launched an attack attempting to dislodge the ISIS fighters from the eastern district of Fataeh.
“There were dozens of deaths in the ISIS ranks," LANA reported, stating that Fataeh was the last remaining ISIS “bastion” in the city.
The militiamen also reportedly arrested dozens of ISIS fighters during the clashes.
Libya has been divided between two parliamentary bodies since the rival House of Representatives (HoR) was formed after a largely boycotted election with a turnout of less than 20 percent. Following this, armed attempts by HoR-loyal militias failed to forcibly disband the General National Council - the Libyan parliament formed with the help of the UN and NATO following the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The conflict in Libya led to widespread clashes when HoR army head Khalifa Haftar launched “Operation Dignity” in an armed bid to capture the cities of Benghazi, Misrata and Tripoli from the GNC last August, with fighting in Benghazi remaining heated ever since.
Now operating out of the eastern border town of Tobruk, the HoR enjoys greater international influence than the GNC though the GNC retains control over most of Libya’s internal affairs.
Due to the lack of order in eastern Libya ISIS was able to expand its influence uncontested on the ground, occupying Derna and parts of the central city of Sirte where forces from the Tripoli-allied Dawn Alliance’s 166th Misratan battalion continue to clash with the militants.