The Islamic State, often referred to as ISIS, continues its bloody fight for supremacy in Libya, showing its determination to stop at nothing with the beheading of 12 people. After the grim decapitations, the bodies were then hung on crosses.
All of this happened against the backdrop of what is being referred to as the Battle of Sirte. Sirte is the hometown of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and ISIS is fighting to control the city.
As if it couldn’t get gruesome enough, ISIS fighters also slaughtered 22 wounded residents of the city who tried to fight back. ISIS fighters then lit the hospital on fire.
According to CBC, with this escalation of violence, the officially recognized government of the country is making urgent pleas for help in dealing with the situation from other Arab governments.
“Libya’s temporary government urges … the Arab brother states … to conduct airstrikes against positions of the Daesh [ISIS] terrorist group in Sirte.”
Libya’s ambassador to France echoed these statements according to Mail and Guardian.
“A real massacre is taking place, and we call on the international community to intervene.”
The country has been in chaos since the Gaddafi regime was toppled in 2011, and now ISIS wants a piece of the pie. As it is, there are two rival governments wanting to control the country, while a parade of other groups and tribes have their own agendas as well.
Authorities of the government that the international community does not recognize, based in Tripoli, have announced that they will fight to liberate Sirte from ISIS.
A city council official from Sirte painted a dire picture of the situation in his town, once again in the Mail and Guardian.
“There is continuous fighting, especially in neighbourhood three, and the casualty toll is rising.”
For its part, the international community appears to be aware of the situation even if it hasn’t committed itself to taking action yet. According to Yahoo News, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, and the U.S. released a statement.
“We are deeply concerned about reports that these fighters have shelled densely populated parts of the city and committed indiscriminate acts of violence to terrorize the Libyan population.”
Italy was also part of the statement against ISIS. They are particularly concerned because as the fighting rages on in Libya, more and more migrants fleeing the danger are making their way to the country. The prospect of having a state descending further into chaos so close to Italy has Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni deeply worried, especially if action is not taken to come up with a solution in the next few weeks.
“We will find ourselves with another Somalia two steps from our coasts. Time is limited, particularly now that [ISIS] in Sirte has become alarming.”
As ISIS continues to exploit the security vacuum present in Libya, many are looking on fearful of what atrocities are still to come.
[Photo from Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain]