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article imageAl-Qaeda-linked Islamists fight against Islamic State in Libya

By Ken Hanly     Jun 10, 2015 in World
Darnah - The Shura Council of Darna Mujahidin has declared holy war on the local Islamic State(IS) affiliate after one of their most senior leaders was killed by masked gunmen.
The gunmen opened fire on Nasser Akr, an Al-Qaeda-linked militant once held in the UK on terrorism charges and who fought in Afghanistan. He was killed along with his aide. The killing resulted in clashes between fighters from the Council and from the Islamic State.The clashes were said to have killed 11 people, including a top Islamic State commander. Nine of those killed were from the Islamic State and the two others from the Shura Council. Killed in the clashes on Wednesay was Salem Derbi, a revolutionary commander, active in the Darna area since before the overthrow of Gadaffi and active in the revolution against him. Derbi was commander of the Abu Salem Brigade which has a history of hatred of the Islamic State. The Shura Councl said that Islamic State fighters were guilty of "tyranny and criminality" and called on Darna residents to rise up against them. Another report put the number of casualties from the clashes at 20.
The Islamic State group in Darna consists of local militants, often converts from other radical groups such as Ansar al Sharia and veterans sent home from foreign jihadist operations in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere. A top IS ideologue was said to be killed in the clashes as well as a number of foreign nationals. Militancy is hardly new to Darna. The area and city sent many jihadis to Iraq after the U.S. invaded. Entire brigades from Darna are said to have fought in the Syrian civil war. The Shura Council said: “The Islamic State has shown its tyranny and criminality to every devout person seeking what is right." It also accuse the Islamic State of fighting Muslims and Jihadists. The council also noted that IS had already been given a warning by the Council to mend its ways but now the Council had "put a sword through them and declared jihad against them until none remain". The Islamic State appears to take every other radical Islamist group as an enemy and competitor to be fought.
The Islamic State also has control of the city of Sirte and its airport in an area controlled by the Tripoli government. Darna is in an area controlled by the Tobruk government. The Islamic State attacks forces of both governments. It is not part of the peace talks, not surprisingly.
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