first published on October 8, 2017 by Sean
The Islamic State staged a suicide attack against a Libyan court in Misrata this past week. The attack highlights the lingering chaos inside the North African country and its regional implications.
Several Islamic State militants donning suicide vests and small arms entered the court on Wednesday, killing four and wounding nearly 40 according to reports. The video captures the detonation of at least one bomb from a building directly across from the court, and gunfire can also be heard inside. Misrata, under the control of the UN backed Government of National Accord (GNA), has been largely out of IS reach since its expulsion from its former stronghold in Sirte this past year.
Despite continued UN support the Libyan government remains fragile, as it is comprised of several former adversaries and well-armed rivals. The Islamic State and other extremist’s groups still control significant portions of the country and clearly possess the ability to infiltrate attackers into previously secured areas.
The ongoing political chaos in the fragile Libyan government poses another significant regional problem – Libyan extremists fueling the African arms trade. With weapons ending up in the hands of militants from Nigeria to Mali, and recently spiking violence in Burkina Faso and most notable Niger, Libyan weapons will surely play a role in African politics in the months and years to come.