On 23 November, Islamic State (ISIS) fighters launched an assault on the town of Tazirbu, an oasis in Libya’s south-east some 250km north-west of Kufra, leaving at least 8 people dead, 11 wounded and 17 kidnapped. Arriving in as many as 15 vehicles the assailants took over a police station for a brief period before withdrawing towards the al-Harouj mountains in Central Libya.
A joint force from the Libyan National Army (LNA) pursued the attackers and engaged them in Wadi al-Hatab, near Zillah. The clashes resulted in 12 ISIS fighters being killed and three abductees being released. While en-route, the LNA forces also reportedly clashed with Chadian mercenaries smuggling fuel to the south, leaving 14 people dead and two vehicles destroyed.
On 25 November, ISIS’s Amaq News Agency claimed responsibility for the incident, stating they had killed 29 LNA soldiers and captured multiple police officers, including two Libyan National Army officers. In its statement, IS suggested it fighters targeted particular individuals.
In contrast, the LNA denied that any of its members had been killed and claimed to have killed 18 “terrorists”, destroyed two of their armed vehicles and seized another two.
On 24 November, Special Deterrence Forces (RADA) in arrested suspected ISIS leader Adel Adulhamid in Bani Walid after several hours fighting. Adulhamid is thought to have been involved in human fuel smuggling and returned to Bani Walid after IS lost control of Sirte in late 2016.