At least nine fighters were killed in clashes on Friday in the eastern city of Derna in Libya between ISIS and Al Shura council allied with the Libyan Government in Tripoli.
Fighting erupted first in Derna on Tuesday after a leader in the Shura Council was killed alongside 20 other fighters. After Tuesday’s clashes the Shoura council declared war against ISIS.
On Friday new clashes broke out, according to Reuters, but no more details are available for now except regarding the deaths of the nine fighters.
The United Nations Special Envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, hailed the progress made by the leaders of Libya’s two warring factions on Wednesday in their first face-to-face meeting since the conflict in the country erupted last August.
The talks in Berlin came just two days after delegations from Libya’s Tripoli-based General National Council parliament (GNC) and its rival House of Representatives (HoR) gathered in Skhirat, Morocco, to hold “decisive” talks which were also attended by the municipal council of the city of Misrata, home to Libya’s largest militia.
Libya has been divided between the two rival parliamentary bodies since the HoR was founded after a largely boycotted election with a turnout of less than 20 percent, following which armed attempts by HoR-loyal militias failed to forcibly disband the GNC.
Due to the lack of order in eastern Libya, ISIS was able to expand its influence uncontested on the ground, occupying parts of the central city of Sirte where forces from the Tripoli-allied Dawn Alliance’s Misrata-based 166th battalion continue to clash with the militants.
The international community began to expedite talks set on unifying the GNC and the HoR after the emergence of ISIS in Derna, around 160 kilometres from the HoR’s headquarters.
The conflict in Libya broke into 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 clashes in Benghazi remaining heated ever since.
Now operating out of the eastern border town of Tobruk, the HoR enjoys greater international influence as the GNC retains control over most of the country’s internal affairs.
Interest in the conflict by Libya’s former regional allies has grown, with Egypt leading the charge aiming to urge the international community for another intervention in Libya.