Islamic State suicide bombers target Misrata courthouse - October 10

This week was marked by a suicide bomb attack carried out by fighters affiliated with the Islamic State (IS), targeting the Misrata courthouse. Meanwhile, new disruptions were reported at Sharara oilfield as a youth group from Southern Libya blocked the roads leading to the oilfield to protest the worsening of living conditions in Southern Libya.

On Oct 4, three fighters affiliated with IS carried out a suicide bomb attack at Misrata courthouse, resulting in four to six deaths while up to 40 people were injured. The assailants targeted the Misrata court buildings while IS prisoners were being prosecuted. The attackers entered the building after an exchange of gunfire with security forces, which lasted for more than 15 minutes. Shortly after, two of the assailants detonated their suicide vests. Victims of the attack included at least three policemen from Misrata and the prosecutor of Sirte. The identities of the two other victims have not been disclosed yet. After the attack, Misrata security forces uncovered a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) parked in front of the Misrata courthouse, which they defused. The Government of National Accord (GNA) Defense Ministry claimed that one of the three IS attackers had been arrested, however, other reports suggested that all the attackers were killed during the attack, either by gunfire or by the explosion. Since the attack, security measure have been reinforced in Misrata and Sirte in the event of further IS attacks. In Sirte, a curfew has been implemented.

Meanwhile, new disruptions were reported at Libyan oilfields. On Oct 3, the head of security at Sharara oil field confirmed that an agreement was reached with the Brigade 30 from Ubari, ending the blockade at the oil field. On Oct 1, the armed group shut down oil production at Sharara oil field, demanding the payment of the brigade's salaries in exchange for the reopening of the site, as well as more development and investment in Southern Libya. However, on Oct 7, a Southern youth group called "Enough Silence" blocked roads leading to Sharara and El-Feel oilfields to denounce the deteriorating living conditions and security situation in southern Libya. The group includes young men from Ubari, Al-Ghariga and Bent Beh. In recent weeks, Southern Libya has experienced acute fuel shortages as truck drivers refuse to drive through the region due to the high threat of attacks and robberies. However, a convoy of around 80 fuel trucks departing from Misrata oil depot reached Southern Libya on Oct 8.

Lastly, the UN Special Mission to Libya (UNSMIL) issued on Oct 2 its monthly casualty report documenting the number of civilian casualties in Libya. For the month of September, the UNSMIL recorded a total of 12 deaths and 23 injuries across the country, among which include 7 dead men, 3 dead women and 2 dead children. UNSMIL reports suggest that Sabratha and Benghazi were Libya's deadliest cities for civilians in September. The fighting in Sabratha caused 5 deaths among civilians while explosive war remnants also caused 5 civilian deaths in Benghazi. The UNSMIL had recorded 7 civilian deaths in August.

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