Jihadi group ′dissolved′ in Libya | News | DW | 28.05.2017
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Jihadi group 'dissolved' in Libya

A Libyan group accused of being behind the 2012 Benghazi attack on the US consulate in Benghazi has declared its "dissolution." Ansar al-Sharia claimed that its decision followed defections and various setbacks.

An online communique attributed to Ansar al-Sharia said the group had decided to dissolve itself after being "weakened."

The international policy organization Counter Extremism Project reported that Ansar al-Sharia had suffered a number of setbacks in recent years, including prominent defections to the Islamic State (IS).

Pro al-Qaeda elements opposed to IS banded together to form a group called Majlis Mujahedeen which took another eastern Libyan city of Derna (pictured above) in 2015.

Derna targeted after attack on Copts

On Friday, eastern military strongman Khalifa Haftar said his forces had taken part in Egyptian air strikes on jihadist positions in Derna, hours after gunmen attacked a bus en route to a monastery south of Cairo, killing at least 29 Coptic Christians.

On Saturday that attack was claimed by IS.

Earlier this month, Haftar launched an offensive to oust jihadist fighters from two remaining strongholds in Benghazi, also in Libya's east and the fractured nation's second largest city. 

Origin in Benghazi

Ansar al-Sharia sprung up in Benghazi after the overthrow and death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

At its zenith, the group also had a presence in Derna, with offshoots in Sirte and Sabratha, western Libya.

In 2014, Ansar al-Sharia lost its leader, Mohammed Azahawi in clashes with Haftar's forces.

Ansar al-Sharia was accused by Washington of being behind theSeptember 11, 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.

Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

ipj/kl (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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