Country Report on Terrorism 2018 - Chapter 5 - Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi

Aka Ansar al-Sharia in Libya; Ansar al-Shariah Brigade; Ansar al-Shari’a Brigade; Katibat Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi; Ansar al-Shariah-Benghazi; Al-Raya Establishment for Media Production; Ansar al-Sharia; Soldiers of the Sharia; Ansar al-Shariah; Supporters of Islamic Law.

Description: Designated as a FTO on January 13, 2014, Ansar alShari’a in Benghazi (AAS-B) was created after the 2011 fall of the Qadhafi regime in Libya. It has been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets, and assassinations and attempted assassinations of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya.

Activities: Members of AAS-B were involved in the September 11, 2012, attacks against the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya. Four U.S. citizens were killed in the attack: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens.

In 2016, AAS-B continued its fight against the “Libyan National Army” in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of both Libyan security forces and civilians. Additionally, AAS-B controlled several terrorist training camps in Libya and trained members of other terrorist organizations, some of which operate in Syria, Iraq, and Mali.

In May 2017, AAS-B announced its formal dissolution because of heavy losses, including the group’s senior leadership, as well as defections to ISIS in Libya. AAS-B claimed no attacks in 2018.

Strength: Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation: The group operated in Benghazi, Libya.

Funding and External Aid: AAS-B obtained funds from al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb, charities, donations, and criminal activities.