The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has released pictures of a jihadist in a wheelchair executing alleged spies in Libya, where the group continues to grow.
The executions took place in Sirte, the birthplace of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The man wore a sign that said “spy” on it.
WARNING: VERY GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW.
The group released the pictures as Secretary of State John Kerry admitted the Islamic State “is threatening Libya and could seize the nation’s oil wealth.” Kerry met with 23 other officials in Rome, Italy, to discuss the fight against the radical Islamic group.
Kerry told reporters the U.S. does not want to use ground forces in Libya.
“We are still not at the victory that we want to achieve, and will achieve, in either Syria or Iraq and we have seen Daesh playing a game of metastasizing out to other countries, particularly Libya,” he explained.
He added, “Our advances … are undeniable. We have launched nearly 10,000 air strikes, we have interrupted their finance mechanisms, they have had to cut the salaries of their fighters, we have interrupted their capacity to get revenues.”
The meeting comes a month after former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell told the House Armed Services Committee ISIS could expand deeper into Libya.
“ISIS has gained affiliates faster than al Qaeda ever did,” he declared. “From nothing a year ago, there are now militant groups in nearly 20 countries that have sworn allegiance to ISIS. They have conducted attacks that have already killed Americans and they carry the potential to themselves to grab large amounts of territory.”
In December, research firm IHS revealed evidence that the Islamic State had expanded in Libya while contracting in Syria and Iraq. The jihadists also increased their presence in Afghanistan, Egypt, and Yemen.
“Using open source intelligence including social media and sources inside the countries, the team at IHS estimates that the Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ shrunk by 12,800 km2 to 78,000 km2 between 1 January and 14 December 2015, a net loss of 14 percent,” researchers wrote in the report.
News reports throughout 2015 confirmed the firm’s analysis. In February 2015, the Islamic State executed 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on the Mediterranean Sea. The jihadist group published the execution on the video “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross.”
The narrator promises the Islamic State will “conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission, the promise of our Prophet, peace be upon him.”
Militants in Libya use flight simulators to train others how to use a plane. They took the “system from an airport once held” by Gaddafi.
“The simulator is complete with a steering wheel to practice takeoff and landing, a radar screen, and a communications device to contact the control tower,” reported Asharq Al-Aswat.
Militants launched an attack on two major oil stations in Libya at the beginning of 2016. A Libyan National Oil spokesman confirmed a crude-oil tank exploded.