Islamic State has greatly expanded its control over territory in Libya and the militants are claiming to be the key defense for the North African state against foreign military intervention, United Nations sanctions monitors said.
In their annual report to the U.N. Security Council, which was released on Wednesday, the monitors also said Libya has become more attractive to foreign fighters who mainly arrive through Sudan, Tunisia and Turkey.
The United States has carried out air strikes in Libya targeting Islamic State, also known as ISIL. A U.S. air strike in the eastern city of Derna in November killed Islamic State’s previous leader in Libya, known as Abu Nabil.
The U.N. experts also said they had received information about the presence of foreign militaries in Libya supporting efforts to combat Islamic State, but did not name the countries as it was still investigating.
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