(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
General Ismaeil Al-Shukri, the Military Intelligence Chief for the brigades fighting in Sirte, said that reports suggesting that a number of ISIS fighters escaped before the Libyan forces could get to them is false.
The Military Chief said regional countries and those who have political or economic interest in Libya are sponsoring groups like ISIS.
“Preliminary investigations startlingly showed the involvement of international parties and ‘dubious stakeholders’ in supporting ISIS military presence in Sirte,” said Al-Shukri.
The investigation Al-Shukri referred to allegedly found documentation and footage revealing that the formation of ISIS in Libya was specifically planned overseas.
Al-Shukri said that the first batch of ISIS fighters came to Sirte from Tunisia and then Egypt, Sudan and Nigeria, as well as fighters from various other countries.
“The real war on terrorism in Libya has always been in three cities, Sirte, Derna and Sabratha,” added the general.
The US Department of State recently made a statement saying it is “watching very carefully” for any ISIS regrouping outside of Sirte. Some reports also state that a Libyan commander estimated that at least 400 ISIS fighters managed to escape Sirte, raising concerns that the terrorist group might try to establish a new base in Libya or elsewhere in North Africa or even Europe.