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Extremists in Libya Set Up Strongholds | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Militants from Derna, photographed shortly after pledging
allegiance to ISIS in October/ Reuters

Cairo – In meetings held near the Cairo International Airport, officials in regional security bodies have exceptionally accelerated their activity following the terrorist attacks that targeted the Middle East recently.

Reports said that many extremists have been displaced to Libya, which suffers from weakness in its security and control of its airports. During one of these meetings, a security officer underlined the name of a Libyan man known by “Dikna”, whom they have been chasing for a while. First, it seemed that he was a dangerous man who stands behind all attacks that took place in the region. Yet, a Libyan officer said that “Dikna” was constantly tracked by many security bodies, but he vanished days before the explosion of the Coptic Church in Cairo.

One of the foreign security officials who participated in the meeting said that tracking extremists has become more difficult after the intensification of the International Coalition’s hits over ISIS’s strongholds in Syria and Iraq and the inspection operations on suspicious monetary transactions and the displacement of suspects; this official considered that this phenomenon has become international as terrorism in a country can lead to a disaster in another one.

Majority of Terrorists are from Arabs

The officer, who is a major regional security officer, said that the majority of extremist groupings are from Arab nationalities with some of them holding European citizenships; they have remarkably set up their strongholds in Libya to carry out cross-border attacks – especially in the neighboring countries and in the Middle Eastern countries, the sources added.

During one of their meetings, officials said that a Libyan man called “Marjini”, leading a group of Arab extremists escaped from surveillance within the past weeks. The regional security official revealed that both Dikna and Marjini might be members in the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and that they are using an office in Misrata to import extremist, including Egyptians from Sinai and Palestinians from Gaza Strip. He added that according to investigations, those extremists have planned cross-border terrorist attacks and they received USD30 million to fund these operations.

Security sources close to the Libyan Presidential Congress said that political and military leaderships from Misrata discovered this office and launched investigations, in which an official participates from the Libyan intelligence body.

Proposals raised to refrain the office from its activities included the confiscation of funds allocated for extremist Arab and Libyan extremist groups. According to the same source, investigations include videos showing Dinka and Marjini while planning terrorist attacks days prior to the church’s explosion in Cairo; the search operations are still ongoing among the region to find the two men.

On another hand, officials said that important information reported that ISIS is planning to use Libya as a base to carry on operations in the Middle East and Europe, amid suspicions on cooperation between the two escaping men and ISIS.

Regional Security Cooperation

Apparently, cooperation among security officials in the Middle East have eased the solution of many security dilemmas; Al-Farouq Brigade – ISIS’s branch in Libya has brought its members from Ansar Bait al-Maqdis in Sinai along with many members from the Muslims Brotherhood in Libya and Tunisia.

Future Indications

The leaked information showed that ISIS has set mysterious plans based on complicated symbols for Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Mali, and Europe. Reports say that members transported from Iraq and Syria to Libya have reached 1000, including leaders who are responsible of Sinai, Alexandria, and Cairo.

As per “Dinka”, the man pursued by security forces, new information said that he has been residing out of Misrata and that USD50,000 were delivered to his relatives few days ago from outside Libya, which asserted that Dinka is still out of the country. Sources added that Misrata’s Airport received groups from Hamas and Ansar Bait al-Maqdis few weeks ago.

Unprecedented Activity

The intelligence official submitted a memorandum to the members of the Presidential council about the Brotherhood office in Misrata saying they are setting plans to target Egypt – this was not the first memorandum on such activities as the Congress previously received similar notifications on extremist groups joining ISIS’ members who escaped from Syria and Iraq.

The growth of extremist activity in Libya has raised significant concerns among intelligence and political circles.

According to military sources, the National Unity Government, the U.N., and Arabic and European parties were notified on the new concerns. After meetings in Cairo, all parties have agreed on maintaining cooperation and exerting more efforts to chase extremist leaders, mostly those who uses Libya as a base to attack neighboring countries.