Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 2 Issue: 5

On February 24 the jihadist al-Qal’ah forum ( ran a brief note on breaking events in Libya. Under the rubric: “Your brothers in Libya need your prayers,” a contributor to the forum explained that: “For a week now, right up to the present hour, a wide-ranging house search campaign is underway in Libya, in the eastern territory … comprising the cities of Derna, Benghazi and al-Bayda, against the mujahideen and their partisans. Preceding this campaign” the text continues, “were confrontations between our mujahid brothers and the tyrants in the security services, resulting in fatalities, martyrs and wounded. These are known as the events of Wadi al-Kouf. This area lies between Derna and al-Bayda, and is a rocky mountainous zone. We ask that our brothers come to aid of the mujahideen and support them.”

Since 1995 the Libyan regime has been fighting low-level, intermittent insurgent activities of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was formed largely from Libyans who had fought against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. The Group’s original aims were to replace the regime of Colonel Qadhafi with a government based on Shari’ah. Since failing in an assassination attempt against Qadhafi in 1996, and conducting a series of armed confrontations in the late 1990s, the Group has taken up the cause of global jihad under the banner of al-Qaeda. In September 2001 the Group’s foreign assets were frozen and last December it was designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization. Because its strength is not precisely known, the level of threat posed by the present clash in the northeast sector of the country is difficult to gauge, particularly since the website of the Islamic Fighting Group ( has yet to post up a statement concerning these developments. The website has not been regularly updated. This, according to the webmaster, is due to the “conditions of the media bureau in general, and the pressures it is under from periodic arrests from the forces of evil … obedient to the orders of the enemies of our Nation, the Crusaders and Jews to suppress the voices [of criticism].”