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Ansar Al-Sharia moves to consolidate power in Derna as locals look to liberation by Libyan army

Following last week’s opening of an Islamic Court in Derna, the Shoura Council of Islamic Youth (SCIY), controlled by Al-Sharia, is now moving to set up a civil administration for the town and area that they now call the Province of Cyrenaica (Wilayah Barca, ولاية برقة), part of the Islamic Caliphate. They have opened a tax and financial office to collect taxes (presumably the Islamic tax Zakat) and regulate prices in the areas.

In their forays into the education sector, they are also reported to have banned the teaching of foreign languages, mathematics and science and closed both the local Higher Education Institute and the law department at the town’s Omar Mukhtar University, the later because it was not teaching Sharia law, the former because of gender mixing among staff and students.

Earlier this month SCIY declared it allegiance to Daesh and the Islamic Caliphate.

A Derna source has told the Libya Herald today that SCIY rule is deeply unpopular among the local population and that they are waiting for the Libyan army to liberate the town.

Although the Operation Dignity strategy has been to cut off and isolate the town, it now appears that a military move may happen sooner rather than later.

According to the source, the Derna is now alive with rumours that LNA units have arrived at Um Arrizam, some 40 kilometres east of Derna, awaiting orders to attack.

The report has not been confirmed. However, sources at the House of Representatives told this newspaper this evening that General Sulaiman Mahmoud Al-Obeidi, who heads LNA forces in Tobruk, had said he was ready to surround Derna and was awaiting final instructions from the Chief of Staff.

The source in Derna meanwhile said that that bombing raids on a number of Ansar targets in and around the town by the LNA air force were continuing.

Libya Herald

This article was originally published here.

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