The public spectacle—the details of which have not been previously reported in the Western press—was meant to send a message to local residents: Side with ISIS, and this is your fate. But it also vividly conveyed that, despite ISIS’s territorial gains in Syria and Iraq, the self-proclaimed caliphate does not exercise total control of Libya, a fractured country that it’s trying to use as a safe-haven, training ground, and potential launching point for attacks in North Africa and potentially Europe.
The execution in the eastern city of Derna was described to The Daily Beast by two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity and are familiar with video footage of the shaming and hanging. U.S. government intelligence analysts have also seen the footage, the sources said.
The ISIS commander was marched through the street “Cersei Lannister-style,” one source said, an allusion to the queen mother in Game of Thrones, who, in the series’ recent season finale, is forced to walk naked through the streets to atone for her sins.