A leader of the jihadist group Islamic State (EI), the "planner and sponsor" of three deadly attacks in 2018 in the capital Tripoli, has been captured, the head of Libya's Government of National Unity announced on Thursday evening.
"Our forces apprehended on Tuesday a leader of the terrorist organization Daech (Arabic acronym for EI, ed. note), involved in the planning and command of terrorist acts that targeted our country's institutions and their fallen officials," Abdelhamid Dbeibah, head of Libya's UN-recognized government based in the capital, said in a live TV address.
The operation was carried out jointly by the Radaa (Deterrence) Force and the Rahbat al-Dourou (Shields) Brigade from Tajoura (an eastern suburb of Tripoli), according to the government's media office, which gave no further details on the identity or nationality of the jihadist.
Mr. Dbeibah renewed his government's commitment to "fighting terrorism in all its forms", "prosecuting anyone involved" in terrorist acts, and "strengthening stability throughout the country", despite "difficulties and challenges" to protect Libya from "obscurantists, terrorists, and criminals".
On May 2, 2018, 14 people were killed in a suicide attack claimed by the EI against the headquarters of the Libyan High Electoral Commission (HNEC) in Tripoli.
On September 10, 2018, a suicide attack by the jihadist group against the headquarters of the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) in the heart of the capital, killed two and wounded ten company staff.
On December 25, 2018, three people, including a Libyan diplomat, were killed in an attack claimed by the Islamic State (EI) group against the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Taking advantage of the disintegration of the country's security apparatus since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the EI, which has carried out several deadly attacks across the country, had set up strongholds in Derna (east) and Sirte (north-central), from which it was driven out in 2018 and late 2016 respectively.