The Address | Benghazi – Libya
TRIPOLI – Elements of the terror group ISIS are actively fighting for the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) which is paying them to do so, said the president of the American Security Studies Group Jim Hanson.
“A lot of the fighters from the Islamic State [ISIS] went to Libya and are actually fighting right now for the UN-approved government; they are being paid by them along with some Al-Qaeda fighters,” said Hanson who was speaking to Fox News about the threat of ISIS fighters driven out of Syria.
“President Trump now seems to be backing Field Marshal Haftar who is opposing them,” he said in a reference to a phone conversation between United States President Donald Trump and General Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, in which they discussed ongoing counter-terrorism efforts.
“So that’s one way we take them on; is backing people who are against the Muslim Brotherhood, against Al-Qaeda and ISIS.”
Hanson also commented on a recent video released by ISIS showing its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, vowing to seek revenge for its loss of territory and discussing attacks in Libya and elsewhere.
“He was pretending to hold a staff meeting with his guys and he was talking about where they’re operating, places like Turkey. He also did mention the fight in Libya and places where they think they still have a chance to gain a little bit of ground or whatever.”
For the president of Virginia-based think tank, the U.S. government needs to side with those who oppose ISIS as the terror group is changing the territories of its operations.
“So I think the U.S. has to decide who our friends are and go ahead and back them in the fight against ISIS where they’re trying to still operate; and that’s gonna be places like Libya and Turkey and other places.”
Hanson’s remarks, which he made two days ago, seem today like a self-fulfilled prophecy. ISIS has claimed responsibility for today’s bloody attack on the headquarters of Battalion 160 of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the city of Sabha.
However, ISIS wasn’t the only group claiming it’s behind the attack. Militias allied with GNA, namely Al-Somood and the so-called Battalion 166, have also claimed their responsibility.
According to reports, the terror attack resulted in the killing of seven soldiers from the LNA, one soldier was slaughtered, another was burned, while the rest were shot by a bullet to the head or chest.