Libyan authorities, represented by the Defense Ministry, officially acknowledged the existence of IS militants groups on Libyan soil and admitted that they have carried out attacks on both state institutions and citizens.
In a press conference Thursday, the Deputy Defense Minister in the Salvation Government, Mohammed Al-Naas reviewed the start-up phase of the IS militias within Libya, going back to their first appearance in Derna three years ago, until it was lately kicked out from the city by the Derna Shura Council fighters.
“IS in Sirte has appeared to the public in March 2015 after some defections in Ansar Al-Sharia organization, then it controlled the local administrative institutions setting up a leadership headquarters in Ouagadougou hall where it recruited militants from Sudan, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, and other countries from western Sahara and other nationalities.” Elaborated the Deputy.
Deputy Al-Naas also underlined the terrorist acts carried out by the IS militias such as killing, kidnapping, and explosion as those that targeted Sirte, Shweirif, Abu Grein, Ben Jawad, Al-Noufliyah, Al-Saddada, Zliten and other cities and towns leaving hundreds dead and wounded.
Referring to the areas controlled by IS and the funding sources it has got, Al-Naas said that IS has a grip on Sirte and its suburbs, Al-Noufliyah, Ben Jawad, while it has also little presence in Al-Khumus, southern Zliten, Sabratha, southern Ben Waleed, and Wahat Zellah, pointing that IS depends on illegal immigration business and kidnap for ransom, stealing and burglary of public institutions money to fund its terrorist crimes.
Deputy Minister Al-Naas also indicated that the Defense Ministry and General Staff are professional institutions under the military laws and orders without participation in any party or political deal.
“The Defense Ministry must protect the country supervised by supreme security leaderships and it had nothing to do with wasting Libyans’ blood after the fall of Gaddafi’s regime.” Al-Naas reaffirmed.
The Ministry of Defense was not consulted for security measures by any international entity, stressing that the killing in Benghazi and the west is illegitimate and goes under the “crimes against humanity” category.
“Defense Ministry recruits and revolutionaries, who still have their arms with them, mustn’t intervene in the political affairs and should not enter any military operations under the excuse of protecting the Sirraj government.” He said.
He called on the UNSMIL to ask for any help it needs from the military institution and stop contacts with security and military personnel.