In Tripoli, this week was marked by the Islamic State (IS) claiming responsibility for an attack on Tripoli’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) headquarters on 25 Dec. The attack, reportedly carried out by at least three militants carrying machine guns and wearing personal-borne improvised explosive device vests (PBIEDs), resulted in three fatalities and 21 injuries, according to the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Ministry of Health. Meanwhile, IS claimed to have inflicted 31 casualties, whilst vowing to take revenge against those who fought against the IS in Sirte. The incident stands as the third largest IS attack to hit the capital city in the last seven months, largely undermining recent efforts to enhance security through new security arrangements.
Beyond the IS attack on the MoFA, this week saw militia tensions between Ghneiwa and Zintan following reports of the abduction of a Ghneiwa militiaman by Zintan forces. The tensions led to raids and attempted arrests, with the latest reports suggesting both sides exchanged kidnapped members on 27 Dec. Tensions between Zintani forces and Tripoli’s various militias remain common across the capital city.
Meanwhile, corroborating Whispering Bell’s assessment of probable tensions in the Bani Walid area, reports emerged over violent clashes between the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) Tariq Bin Zayid Brigade and Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) South of Bani Walid on 24 Dec. “Libya Al-Hadath” local news channel reported on the presence of forces of the former head of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), Ibrahim Jathran, along with BDB forces, in the Wadi Dinar area. In response, Bani Walid’s Municipal Council denied the presence of Jathran & BDB forces in the Wadi Dinar area.
Turning to Libya’s South, in an ongoing sign of increased turmoil, this week saw two deadly attacks on the region. Chadian rebels reportedly attacked the “Kree 35” area, South of Qatrun, killing at least 10 “Mahamid” tribesmen and injuring others on 28 Dec. According to reports, the Chadian rebels conducted a surprise attack on the “Kree 35” area, which reportedly contains gold mines and is mainly inhabited by the Arab tribe of “Mahamid”, South of the town of Qatrun. Acts of retaliation by the local tribesmen remain probable. Meanwhile, in a separate incidents, suspected Chadian rebels attacked the LNA’s 10th Infantry Brigade in Taraghin, resulting in casualties and kidnappings on 27 Dec. The latest reports suggest the Coordinator of the South’s rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, which they described as a preemptive strike against an LNA plan to attack their positions. Initial reports suggest the attackers are composed of anti-LNA Tebu groups in Libya’s Southwest, and could also be affiliated with Islamist groups in the area.
In an oil and gas development, despite ceased operations at Sharara Oil Field, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) announced that November’s crude oil revenues amounted to 2.4 billion US dollars, the third largest monthly revenue of 2018