At least six members of rival Derna Islamist brigades were killed in fighting on Sunday as tensions flared between the town’s Abu Saleem Martyrs’ Brigade and the Islamic Youth in Derna.
The town today appears tohave returned to what has become normality there for more than a year. Over the past twelve months, its radical Islamist brigades have effectively closed the local council, taken control of the court building and liquidated whatever remnants of the town’s security forces remained.
Four members of Abu Saleem Martyrs’ brigade, one Islamic Youth in Derna militiaman along with a civilian perished in the clashes which began on Sunday evening and continued into the early hours of yesterday the morning, Bowabat Al-Wasat reported.
Those killed from the Martys’ Brigade were identified as Mustafa Salim Sayegh, Saleh Attia Erhim, Salem Attia Erhim and Maher Al-Masmari. Masmari was critically injured in the fighting on Sunday and later died in hospital from his wounds. Saad Tagouris was Islamic Youth’s only reported dead.
The civilian, whose name has not yet emerged, was apparently killed outside Derna Hospital when shots were fired into a crowd which had gathered there.
The Islamic Youth in Derna rose to prominence in the town in early April, as a result of the amalgamation of three radical Islamist groups in the area including the Army of the Islamic State of Libya. The establishment of Islamic Youth started a power-struggle with rivals.
It has since carried out two separate public executions in the Derna, for which it has gained notoriety, though not control, since the Abu Saleem Martyrs’ brigade is still seen to hold the balance of power in the town.
Operation Dignity, which has said it is intent on fighting terrorism, wherever it may be in Libya, has said that during Sunday’s clashes it carried out airstrikes on ships attempting to enter Derna’s port. On a number of occasions the forces loyal to General Khalifa Hafter have launched airstrikes on vessels believed to be carrying weapons and ammunition into the town.