In Sirte, the security situation continues to spiral out of control due to a multiplicity of militias. Firstly, the city is paying the price for being used as the strategic headquarters and gathering point of Operation Shuruq troops. During the past week, Operation Dignity air forces carried out a high number of airstrikes over Sirte and its surroundings, causing significant material damages to infrastructure and disrupting what was left of everyday life in the city.
Secondly, radical groups and extremists appear to continuously increasing their assertiveness in the city and surrounding region. In fact, on Tuesday, unidentified gunmen killed an Egyptian Coptic doctor and his wife, who had been based in Sirte for the past 15 years. The gunmen then proceeded to kidnap and kill one of the doctor’s daughters, but did not steal any valuables from the house, thus reinforcing suspicions that this was a religious-motivated killing undertaken by local extremists belonging to the Sirte branch of Ansar al-Shari’a. These elements were clearly ISIS precursurs.
Operation Shuruq troops carried out a surprise attack on Sidra’s oil terminal employing ground forces as well as speedboats armed with rockets. Whilst the attack was repelled by Operation Dignity and federalists forces entrenched in the oil terminal, the attackers managed to kill at least 18 Tubruq-aligned troops and to set an oil storage tank inside the terminal on fire.
Some of the Shuruq troops might easily have been connected to Ansar al-Sharia Sirte elements which would later join ISIS and also attack Sidra and Ras Lanuf in similar fashion