British jihadists fighting for ISIS in Libya
Sirte : As many as 20 British jihadists are fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in Libya, it has been reported.
Hundreds of foreign fighters including British have in recent weeks fled Syria, where the group is losing territory and fighters in air strikes, to Isil’s stronghold in Sirte.
Isil had been gaining control of increasing amounts the coastline, until pro-government forces began an operation to rout them out earlier this month.
Troops fighting for the new unity government are fighting to oust the Islamic State group from Sirte, whose fall there would be a major setback for the extremists.
According to the Sunday Times, they are being helped by small teams of elite British soldiers from the Special Air Service and the Special Boat Service, who are passing on intelligence and are using unmanned aircraft to monitor any attempts by Isis to launch attacks.
Isil is trying to expand in Libya where several administrations have vied for control since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi leaving a security vacuum.
The UN Security Council last month approved sending arms to the new government.
On Tuesday, it authorised an EU naval force to intercept ships suspected of arms smuggling to Libya, moving to shore up Tripoli’s unity government as it battles the Islamic State group.
The council unanimously adopted a resolution drafted by Britain and France that expands the mission of Operation Sophia, which has been combating migrant trafficking in the Mediterranean.
French Ambassador Francois Delattre, who holds the council’s presidency this month, said the measure is a potential “game-changer,” by cutting off the arms flow “that feeds the instability” in Libya.
Operation Sophia’s enforcement of an arms embargo is aimed at supporting the UN-backed unity government as it struggles to establish its authority over the entire north African country.
The embargo was imposed on Libya in 2011, but UN sanctions monitors have reported shipments from Egypt, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan to various factions.
British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said “the existing arms embargo has not fully stopped the flow of weapons” and that action was needed to prevent shipments from reaching Isil fighters.
Source : The Telegraph