While most of the talk in Libya lately has been on efforts to expel ISIS from the oil shipping city of Sirte, or the prospect of Western invasion to attack ISIS, the group is expanding well in its own right, capturing several villages along the coast between Sirte and Misrata.
Misrata hospital reported eight dead and 105 wounded in fighting around the Abu Grein crossroads, south of Misrata, and the city’s military council is calling on all its allies to meet at the crossroads for a fight.
During the anti-Gadhafi rebellion, the Misrata militia was the largest, most influential militia in western Libya. It remained an influential faction, and is one of the driving forces behind the Tripoli-based parliament, one of three extent “governments” in Libya, and the only one not backed by the UN.
The Abu Grein crossroads links two of the main roads in Libya, the Libyan Coastal Highway and the Fezzan Road. In addition to linking Misrata and Sirte on the coastal highway, the Fezzan Road would give whoever controls the crossroads access to a southern route to Sabha.