Country Report on Terrorism 2019 - Chapter 4 - Libya

Libya.  Conflict continued during the year between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Libyan National Army (LNA)-aligned groups and other nonstate actors, including terrorist groups.  Through most of 2019, GNA-aligned groups maintained control of most of Greater Tripoli, the Western Mountains, and the northwest coastal areas stretching from the Tunisian border to Sirte.  LNA-aligned groups controlled the remainder of Libya, including Cyrenaica, and increased their presence in the central and southern districts of Jufra, Kufra, Sabha, and Murzuq.  Libya’s vast, sparsely populated desert areas, particularly in central and southern Libya, remain safe havens for al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Libya (ISIL-Libya).  The GNA, although the internationally recognized government, lacked the capacity and reach to project authority into most of Libya and relied on militias and other armed groups for security in areas it does not have the ability to effectively control.  The GNA had limited ability to eliminate terrorist safe havens, prevent the flow of FTFs, or ensure effective counter-proliferation efforts.  U.S. airstrikes conducted in coordination with the GNA applied pressure to ISIL-Libya networks in Libya during 2019.  Because of the difficulties of controlling the southern and desert borders and a lack of respect for security procedures at air and seaports of entry by foreign state or Libyan substate groups, the GNA remained unable to effectively track flows of FTFs in and out of its territory.  During the year, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) warned that terrorist groups attempted to reach Libya following the collapse of ISIS’s territorial caliphate in the Levant.  On March 6, security services of Bosnia and Herzegovina released a statement indicating that Nusret Imamovic, a U.S.-designated terrorist under Executive Order 13224, had travelled to Libya in February after having fled Syria where he had fought with al-Nusrah Front since 2013.  Rival factions and political stakeholders outside of the GNA, including in the LNA‑aligned forces, were also unable to stem the flow of FTFs.