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Libya: ISIS advances, takes radio and TV offices in Sirte

Italian foreign ministry urges citizens to leave

13 February, 19:44

    Fighting in Benghazi Fighting in Benghazi

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, FEBRUARY 14 - The Islamic State (ISIS) is making headway in Libya and the Italian foreign ministry urged its citizens on Friday to ''temporarily'' leave the country. The foreign ministry underscored that security was steadily deteriorating due to the jihadist militias' advance. Present for months in the eastern Cyrenaica region, ISIS affiliates recently targeted Tripoli and claimed responsibility for a January 27 suicide attack on the Corinthia hotel in which at least five foreigners were killed.

    ISIS-linked Twitter accounts on Thursday announced the killing of 21 Egyptian Copts that had been taken hostage in January in Sirte, posting photos as evidence. The news has not been confirmed by official sources. ISIS has also taken over the state-run television station 'Libya' in Sirte, say Libyan sources, who added that the jihadist group had given the Islamist militant group Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn) ''until Sunday to leave'' the city halfway between Benghazi and Tripoli on the Gulf of Sidra.

    ISIS has also taken over the radio stations 'Radio Syrte' and 'Mekmedas' (specialized in Libyan songs), which are now broadcasting jihadist songs and speeches by ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani.

    Meanwhile, migrants continue to take off from Libyan coasts. About 700 migrants have been rescued in the waters off Libya by the Italian Coast Guard and merchant vessels ships that have been rerouted to the Rome operating center. The migrants were traveling on 7 dinghies: three were rescued by the Fiorillo ship from the port authorities, another three by the Maltese-flagged Belle merchant ship (currently finishing the transfer of migrants on board the vessel) and one by the Gaz Energy merchant ship. An Eni spokesman has said that there are few of the Italian energy company's workers still in the country and that they are all limited to offshore operations to guarantee the ''regular functioning of productive activities with the highest security standards''. ''Eni continues to carefully monitor the situation as it develops,'' the company added. (ANSAmed).

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