9 – 15 October: US defence official claims strikes caused “significant degradation” to ISIS-Libya

Oct 16, 2019 | ISIS

On 10 October, an anonymous US defence official spoke to reporters concerning the status of ISIS-Libya and the effect of recent US AFRICOM airstrikes in southern Libya which served to “keep pressure” on the group. The strikes reportedly killed 43 ISIS fighters, with the official believing approximately 100 members of the group remain in Libya.

The official stated, “We assess that was a pretty significant degradation of their capabilities and, again, they struggle to reconstitute because of the nature of the operatives who were killed in this strike and the fact that they have already been struggling with manpower… We certainly don’t assess that they’re expanding.” At the conclusion of 2018, according to AFRICOM, ISIS had as many as 750 members in Libya. Regarding the group’s make up, the official believed the majority of ISIS-Libya was made up of Libyan citizens, with the group attempting to recruit locally.

On 13 October, Sabratha security forces arrested Moaz Mabrouk al-Falah in the south of the city on suspicion of collaborating with terrorist groups. Falah, who was born in 1997, has been accused of cooperating with ISIS members and smuggling groups. He reportedly confessed that there are sleeper cells in Sabratha planning to undertake operations to destabilise the city.