A car bomb in the eastern Libyan port city of Derna has left seven dead and 19 wounded, and ushered in a new round of fighting over the city, as ISIS is once again pushing to try to retake the area.
The Libyan affiliate of ISIS actually got its start as one of the many Islamist factions operating out of Derna, and used it as their home city for a long time. They ran afoul of some of the other factions, however, and in June al-Qaeda’s Mujahadeen Shura Council ousted them from the city.
Derna was historically the home of a lot of the Islamist resistance to the Gadhafi government, and while it’s note hugely important from a strategic level, it is seen as a valuable site by those Islamist groups because of its historical significance within Libya.
Though a lot of the area near Derna is controlled by the Tobruk-based government in the far east, they have never made an effort to take Derna, and there is no indication that will change. The Tobruk government is the one recognized by most countries, and the one that is more hostile to Islamist groups.