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Who is the Founder of ISIS in Libya?

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

On Saturday the media center for Operation Strong Foundation (Albinyan Almarsos) reported that Khalid Al-Shayeb, also known as Luqman Abu Sakhr, had been killed in a battle against Libyan forces in the region of Al-Baghla last week.

The Libyan Prosecutor General is still waiting to confirm his identity, however, his body has been recognized by ISIS detainees held at the Special Deterrent Force in Tripoli.

Sakhr was born Khaled Al-Shayeb in 1984 in Algeria and was appointed Emir of the Uqba Ibn Nafaa Brigade, the Tunisian branch of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), in 2012.

Sakhr was reportedly behind the attack on the Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou’s home in May 2104. Tunisian officials claimed that Sakhr led the operation, which killed four security officials with the help of other terrorists from the Al Qaeda-linked Uqba Ibn Nafaa Brigades.

Two days after the attack on the Interior Minister’s home, Colonel Mohammed al-Hijazi, the spokesman for General Khalifa Haftar, announced that Sakhr had been arrested on the Tunisia-Libya border by Haftar’s forces.

However, on March 18, 2015 after terrorists attacked the Bardo National Museum in Tunis,killing 23 people, mostly foreign tourists, the Tunisian government suspected Abu Sakhr of planning the attack along with eight others from the radical group Uqba Ibn Nafaa.

Tunisia’s Minister for Internal Affairs said that the Bardo attackers received their training in Libyan military camps.

In addition, Tunisian police claimed to have killed Sakhr along with eight other armed men during a raid in the southern Gafsa region on March 28, 2015.

In July 2015, a spokesman for Haftar’s forces recanted al-Hijazi’s previous claim that Sakhr was apprehended in 2014 on the Tunisia-Libya border, denying that Sakhr was ever captured.

It has been suspected that Haftar’s forces did in fact capture Sakhr in 2014 and later released him.

The Libyan military said that Abu Sakhr was believed to be one of the first founders of the Libyan branch of ISIS and was responsible for the assassination of many Libyan army officers in several regions of the country.

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