Libya Calls for Arab Airstrikes to Halt the Advance of ISIS

Islamic State fundraiser
Militant website via AP

The Libyan government is calling for Arab countries to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State positions.

“The Libyan government, unable to ward off these terrorist groups because of the arms embargo, and out of its historic responsibility toward its people, calls on brotherly Arab countries… to launch airstrikes against specific targets of [ISIS] locations in Sirte in coordination with our concerned bodies,” said a statement from the Libyan government reported by Hurriyet Daily News.

The Libyan government “also condemned the failure of the international community to take action” against the rise of ISIS in their country, according to Hurriyet.

The plea for assistance followed recent Islamic State gains in Sirte, the hometown of deposed and executed dictator Moammar Qaddafi. The offensive was prompted by another Islamist group, backed by a local tribe called the Ferjan, refusing to swear allegiance to the Islamic State.

As usual, ISIS filled social media with triumphant photos of the territory and military equipment it seized during the battle. The group also published images of jihadis beheading a dozen resistance leaders and crucifying their headless bodies, then rampaging through a hospital to murder 22 wounded local militia fighters, before setting the hospital on fire for good measure.

“ISIS has exploited a political vacuum in Libya over the past year, using a stalemate between the country’s two rival governments to exert its control,” reports International Business Times. “A number of Islamist militias, remnants of Libya’s 2011 liberation war, have allied themselves with the group.”

“A real massacre is taking place, and we call on the international community to intervene,” said Libya’s ambassador to France, Chibani Abu Hamoud, who estimated that 200 people had been killed during the battle for this particular neighborhood of Sirte.

The call for an international bombing campaign in Libya was supported by Egypt, which has conducted airstrikes on ISIS positions in Libya before. The UK Independent reports that the Arab League said it would “hold an emergency meeting about the rise of Isis in Libya on Tuesday.”