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EFTM1Y Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters during a military parade in Raqqa province in Syria June 30, 2014 shown in propaganda photos released by the militants.

US State Department report bemoans lack of Libyan counter-terrorism laws and strategy in fight against terrorism

In a report, the US State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism says that although the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) had demonstrated it could be a capable partner with the United States in the fight against ISIS, a lack of comprehensive counter-terrorism laws in the country has prevented successful operations.

The report states that the House of Representatives did not pass any new legislation to confront the growing threat of terrorism throughout the country. It further notes that there were no reported terrorism-related prosecutions in 2016.

It is also notes that in addition to the internal conflict, the role of numerous militias, plus inadequate training, equipment and coordination, are stifling counter-terrorism efforts.

However, despite the shortcomings, it says Libya’s greatest counter-terrorism success during 2016 was the removal of so-called Islamic State (IS) from its Libyan stronghold in Sirte. But although they confronted the terrorist threat in Sirte with assistance from the United States, neither the Presidency Council and its government of national accord nor the House of Representatives in Tobruk had produced a strategy to counter the terrorist threat.

While noting that IS terrorists has been driven out of Sirte and that they and assorted allies had also been pushed out of Benghazi and Derna, such groups continued to capitalise on the absence of effective governance in many parts of the country.

With reference to countering the financing of terrorism (CFT), the report also noted that Libya does not currently have a CFT law and lacks the ability to freeze the assets of UN-designated individuals. It notes, though, that there is a draft comprehensive CFT law which is expected to be enacted by the end of 2017.

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