Three leaders of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS) in Libya have reportedly been picked off by a mysterious sniper in the coastal city of Sirte, which has become the regional ISIS stronghold. ISIS militants are said to be frantically sweeping the city in an effort to find the “Daesh Hunter,” as locals have named him, using a derogatory name for the Islamic State.
The UK Daily Mail reports the Daesh Hunter’s first high-profile kill was sharia court official Hamad Abdel Hady of Sudan, killed on January 13. On January 19, Abu Mohammed Dernawi was killed near his home in Sirte, while January 23 saw the end of high-ranking ISIS commander Abdullah Hamad al-Ansari, a Libyan national killed as he was leaving his mosque.
The Daily Mail quotes speculation that the same “Daesh Hunter” might have been responsible for a few other kills and cautions that reports from ISIS-controlled areas are difficult to verify.
“Online discussion has centered on the theory that the sniper is a lone gunman from the nearby city of Misrata,” reports International Business Times. “But U.S. operatives are thought to be active in the area, and a number of U.S. air strikes have killed IS militants in the area.”
The UK Sun adds speculation that the sniper is a veteran of the Libyan uprising against former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The people of Sirte are hungry for an ISIS-slaying hero. “ISIS reportedly has 3,000 fighters in Sirte and has imposed the strict rules familiar with residents in their defacto capital in Raqqa, Syria,” reports the Daily Mail. “Beheadings and crucifixions plague the town, which has been deserted by citizens by the thousands.”