“In 2019 we recorded no terrorist attacks or assassinations in Benghazi, which was a daily event back before the Libyan National Army (LNA) took control over the city,” said Tarek Alkarraz, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry of the Benghazi-based Interim Government.
Alkarraz told the Associated Press Tuesday that since the LNA also liberated Derna in 2018 from the Islamic State (IS), which controlled the eastern city in the mid-2014, as part of its campaign to liberate the eastern region, life in Derna is back to normal and security has been achieved.
AP reported that although the eastern cities were secured under the liberation campaign of the LNA, the campaign has had a heavy cost.
“But the city center (Bengahzi) lies in ruins, thousands remain displaced, and forces loyal to commander Khalifa Hifter, who now controls eastern Libya, have cracked down on dissent,” AP said, referring to the consequences that Tripoli would witness in the aftermath of the military operation in the western region.
Previously, the statistics of the Criminal Statistics Unit in the Security Directorate of Benghazi reported in March that the crime rate dropped significantly in the city.
“The improvement in Benghazi’s security came after the activation of several departments and units affiliated with the security directorate, along with launching security plan ‘number four’ by the Minister of Interior,” head of the security information office, Captain Ahmed al-Mismari, said in a statement on the directorate’s Facebook page.
In 2014, some parts of the eastern region was controlled by terrorist groups.
“The Islamic State’s first official branch in Libya was announced via the rebranding of existing Libyan al-Qaida-linked groups in the area of Derna in mid-2014,” according to “The Islamic State’s Revitalisation in Libya and its Post-2016 War of Attrition” report issued in March by the Terrorism Combating Center.
The report said IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi formally recognised the presence of the terrorist group in Libya in November 2014, and in 2015 it controlled Derna, Benghazi and Sabrata.
This came along the support of the Islamic Youth Shura Council (IYSC), an extremist organization that announced its presence in Derna in April 2014, for the Islamic State.
Hence, Benghazi and the other eastern parts witnessed a three-year war between the National Army, led by Khalifa Haftar, and extremists. Haftar says he wants to “liberate” Tripoli from terrorists as well.
In late December 2018, the ministries of interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Interim Government agreed to unify their security efforts to secure all regions across Libya.