ISIS parade their fleet of brand new 'police cars'

DC
Published Feb 18, 2015, 9:25 pm IST
Updated Mar 29, 2019, 7:15 pm IST
Ansar al-Sharia was the group widely blamed for the death of US Ambassador in Benghazi
Representational Picture (Photo: AFP)
 Representational Picture (Photo: AFP)

Libya: A video released by the notorious Islamic State Group appears to show a fleet of Toyota Land Cruisers carrying the trademark black flag of Islamic State as they drive in perfect unison through the streets of Libya. Men, women and children cheer and saluted the pick-up trucks as they drove freely through what is believed to be the city of Benghazi. The carefully produced propaganda video was uploaded by terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia on February 5.

Ansar al-Sharia was the group widely blamed for the death of US Ambassador Christopher Stephens in Benghazi in 2012. And only this week, it was linked to the bloody executions of 21 Egyptian Christians on a beach in Libya.

 

Three years after the removal of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as the country's ruler, Libya's main cities have surrendered control to a melting pot of extremist groups. Most of them - including Ansar al-Sharia, Libya Dawn and the Islamic Youth Shura Council - have pledged their allegiance to Islamic State who seek to use the country's location to establish a foothold in North Africa.

Fears of an equally brutal execution, like the recent beheading of the 21 captured Egyptian workers were raised, following the news that 35 more Egyptians may have been kidnapped by Jihadists in the country.

The latest abduction is thought to be a direct response to Egyptian airstrikes on extremist locations in the Libyan city of Derna, following the mass murder of their countrymen. The group has been enforcing Sharia Law by carrying out public beheadings and beatings in Libya since their formation in at least August 2014.

Islamic State fighters traveled to the district in 40 heavily armoured cars and ordered residents to follow Islamic State's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. ISIS exploited the gaps between the democratically elected Libyan government in Torbruk and the Islamist-led General National Congress in the capital Tripoli.

Their joint failure to stop the spread of Islamic State has allowed the extremist group to seize control in a number of coastal cities including Nofaliya, Benghazi, Derna and Sirte - where the Coptic Christians were executed on Sunday.

In a radio interview on Wednesday, Egypt's president said a UN-backed coalition was Libya's best chance of ridding Libya of its many extremist groups. Speaking to France's Europe 1 Radio, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said Egyptian airstrikes against Islamic State group positions in Libya on Monday were in self-defense. He siad: 'We will not allow them to cut off the heads of our children. We have abandoned the Libyan people as prisoners of the militias.

'The militias have to give up their arms and must work in a civil context. We have to disarm and prevent arms from falling into the hands of extremists.

Meanwhile British Prime Minister David Cameron says he does not regret his country's efforts to rid Libya of Muammar Gaddafi, despite growing unrest and the threat from terrorists. The Prime Minister said UK would not abandon Libya as he maintained his decision to send British military forces to the north African country in 2011 was the 'right thing to do'.

 

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