IS in Libya kills 12 fighters loyal to Tripoli government

AP News
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Posted: Mar 18, 2015 1:17 PM

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — An attack by militants from Libya's Islamic State affiliate on Wednesday killed 12 fighters loyal to the militia-backed government based in the country's capital, Tripoli, according to a militia statement.

The attack took place near the town of Nofaliya, close to the country's main oil terminal overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and near the city of Sirte.

It was the latest in a deadly campaign by IS extremists seeking to expand their foothold in the country and targeting Libya's lucrative oil facilities. The militants have already overrun several oil fields and control the cities of Sirte and the eastern city of Darna.

Libya's political crisis, meanwhile, has left the country with two parliaments and two governments, along with rival militaries and militias. The power struggle and fierce fighting has plunged the country into chaos and paved the way for the Islamic State group's expansion.

On Wednesday, IS militants attacked a checkpoint manned by militiamen from the western city of Misrata and fighters allied with this group who have in recent days been battling the militants. The Misrata militia posted on its Facebook page names of the 12 fighters it lost.

The fighters and Misrata militiamen answer to the government in Tripoli, which was set up by militias allied with Islamist factions that seized the capital last August.

The country's elected parliament and internationally-recognized government have been pushed out of Tripoli and have relocated to eastern Libya.