Western Libya Militia Preparing to Attack Main ISIS City

Misrata Militia Allied Somewhat With Tripoli Parliament

by Jason Ditz, May 11, 2016

The militia of the western Libyan city of Misrata, one of the powerhouses of the anti-Gadhafi revolution and an ally of the Tripoli-based parliament, say they are preparing to launch a counter-attack against ISIS in the next few days, pushing against ISIS in Libya’s main city of Sirte.

Over the weekend, ISIS forces attacked the Abu Grein crossroads, held by the militia, raising concerns that they might push north against Misrata itself. The offensive appears to have stalled there, however, and now the militia is looking to move against ISIS territory.

Several factions in Libya are talking up attacks on Sirte, with Misrata’s militia just the latest. The groups are all hoping to bolster their international standing by doing so, while the newest of Libya’s competing governments, the “unity government,” is opposing any attack on Sirte until they unify the militias under their command.

The unity government has limited military capability and control of just a small fraction of Tripoli. The Tripoli parliament controls the rest of the city and has allies among moderate Islamist groups in western Libya, while a third government, the Tobruk parliament, is active on the east coast.

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