The following report provides an in-depth overview of IS-related activity recorded in 2018. The report analyses the group’s modus operandi in Libya and explores potential triggers that could enable IS to transition from a near-dormant to a more active threat in the medium/long term.
- 2018 saw an increase in Islamic State (IS)-related activity with two complex Tripoli attacks in less than six months attributed to the group.
- A return to hit-and-run operations and guerilla tactics has enabled the group to continue to operate, despite losing much of its territory since 2016 and not having enough local support.
- There are approximately 500 IS militants according to the latest estimates, though the exact figure remains difficult to ascertain.
- IS continues to operate in remote desert areas with groups of 10-30 militants and relies on “operations officers” to secure fuel, goods, and other supplies.
- There is mounting evidence to suggest the group could shift its focus from soft targets in the East to western parts of the country in the medium and long term.
- Still, oil facilities in the Oil Crescent area would remain the most desirable target. IS could begin to exploit changes in the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) security presence and counter-offensives in its favour.
- IS continues to feed off its environment and growing political uncertainty in Libya.
- The wider the rift between political factions across Libya, the more entrenched IS will become.
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