Nine dead in suspected IS attack in Libya
BENGHAZI - At least nine security service members were killed in a suspected Islamic State group attack in the southeastern Libyan town of Tazerbo on Friday, a senior security official said.
Eleven other people including civilians and a security chief were also "kidnapped" by members of the extremist group, which attacked a police station in the oasis town and occupied it until residents expelled them. The official also said the attackers were believed to belong to the Islamic State.
The town - which was a resting point for tourists going on Sahara camping tours before Libya plunged into chaos in 2011 - listed six residents on its website as having been killed.
The Tazerbo desert region is controlled by the forces of strongman Khalifa Haftar, who heads the self-styled National Libyan Army (ANL).
The capital Tripoli is the seat of a rival administration -- the internationally-backed government led by Fayez al-Sarraj.
The attack, which has not yet been claimed, is the second in less than a month targeting forces loyal to Haftar.
The first, claimed by IS, killed at least five people in October in the central Kufra region.
Another attack in August claimed by IS killed 11 people including nine members of the ANL.
Torn apart by power struggles and undermined by chronic insecurity, Libya has become a haven for jihadists since the ouster and killing of Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.
IS took advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the city of Sirte in 2015 but forces loyal to a UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) resumed control of the city in December 2016 after eight months of deadly fighting.
Since then, some jihadists have returned to the desert in an attempt to regroup and reorganise.
In September, IS claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on the headquarters of the Libya's National Oil Company (NOC) in the heart of Tripoli which left two dead and 10 wounded.
Four months earlier, it also claimed an attack on the electoral commission headquarters which left 14 dead.