IS Expansion in Libya TimelineMarch 3, 2016 in Islamic State, Libya
The so-called Islamic State (IS) group, which was targeted by a United States air strike in Libya on Friday 19 February 2016, moved into the North African country in 2014 in the chaos that followed the ouster of dictator Moamer Kadhafi. In recent months, the militant group has captured a city in Libya and has become yet another player in the lawless country, where rival governments and militias are battling for control of territory and major oil reserves. IS’ desires to expand into Libya have prompted international concern, with the US increasingly placing its focus on preventing IS from spreading further into the southern regions of Libya and into the Sahara region of Africa.
- 19 November – The US State Department says it is “concerned” by reports that radical extremists with avowed ties to IS are destabilizing eastern Libya, having already seized vast swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
- News reports emerge that the eastern coastal city of Derna is becoming an IS stronghold.
- 27 December – A car bomb explodes outside the diplomatic security building in Tripoli. The bomb, which was claimed by IS, does not cause any causalities.
- 8 January – IS claims to have killed two Tunisian journalists, Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari, who went missing in September 2014.
- 27 January – IS claims responsibility for an attack on Tripoli’s luxury Corinthia Hotel, which killed nine people.
- 15 February – IS releases a video depicting the beheading of twenty-one Coptic Christians, who all but one were Egyptians. The militant groups says that the jihadists firmed the video in January. Egypt carried out air strikes on IS in Derna.
- 20 February – IS claims responsibility for suicide bombings in Al-Qoba, which is located near Derna. The bombings killed 44 people, with the militant group stating that the attacks are to avenge losses in the air strikes.
- 19 April – A new video emerges depicting the execution of 28 Christians who were originally from Ethiopia.
- 9 June – IS announces that it has captured the city of Sirte, which is located east of Tripoli. IS had already controlled the city’s airport.
- 12 July – The group acknowledges that it has been pushed out of Derna after several weeks of fierce fighting with members of the town’s Mujahedeen Council.
- 11 August – Heavy fighting erupts in Sirte between residents and IS militants, with dozens of people reported dead.
- 13 November – The United States bombs IS leaders in Libya for the first time and states that it killed Abu Nabil, an Iraqi also known as Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al-Zubaydi. Libyan officials identify him as the head of IS in Derna.
- 4 December – France announces that it carried out reconnaissance flights over Libya in November, notably at Sirte, adding that it plans to carry out other flights.
- 4 January – IS launches an offensive in a bid to seize oil terminals in Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra, which lie in an “oil crescent” along the coast.
- 7 January – A suicide truck bombing at a police school in Zliten, which is located east of Tripoli, kills more than fifty people, effectively becoming the worst attack to occur since the 2011 revolution. A second attack kills six at a checkpoint in Ras Lanuf. Both are claimed by IS.
- 19 February – A US air strike on a jihadist training camp near Sabratha, west of Tripoli, kills 41 people, with officials disclosing that a senior IS operative behind last year’s deadly attacks in Tunisia was probably killed in the strike. Serbian official announce that two Serbian diplomatic officials, who were being held hostage since November 2015, were also killed in the airstrike.