Country Report on Terrorism 2015 - Chapter 6 - 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 Foreign Terrorist Organization on January 13, 2014, Ansar al-Shari’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 American citizens were killed in the attack: Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens.

In 2013 and 2014, AAS-B is believed to have cooperated with Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah in multiple attacks and suicide bombings targeting Libyan security forces in Benghazi. Throughout 2015, AAS-B was involved in clashes in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of both Libyan security forces and civilians.

In addition to its attacks, AAS-B controls several terrorist training camps in Libya, and has trained members of other terrorist organizations, some of which operate in Syria, Iraq, and Mali. At least 12 of the 28 individuals involved in the January 2013 al-Mulathamun Battalion (aka al-Murabitoun) attack led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar against the Tiguentourine gas facility near In Amenas, Algeria, were trained in AAS-B camps.

Strength: Unknown

Location/Area of Operation: Benghazi, Libya

Funding and External Aid: In the past, AAS-B has obtained funds from AQIM, charities, donations, and criminal activities.