The international community should conduct airstrikes to help Libya fight militants from the Islamic State group, the foreign minister for Libya's internationally recognized government said Tuesday. A day earlier, the militant group -- which controls several towns in the North African country -- released a video purportedly depicting an execution in the town of Sirte.
“People are dying, are crucified, are disinterred from their graves, are burned alive," Mohammed Al-Dayri told Agence France-Presse during a visit to Paris. "Libyans don’t understand why the international community doesn’t wake up to these dangers.”
Dayri is a member of Libya's government in Misrata. Its rival government is based in Tripoli, the capital, and is composed of a coalition of Islamist groups. Each government controls minimal territory, outside of which militias and armed rebel groups hold sway. The country has been rife with chaos since 2011, when former dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who controlled the country for more than four decades, was deposed and subsequently killed.
Militants from the Islamic State group, which gained a foothold amid this power vacuum, controls the coastal cities of Sirte, and has been fighting recently to take another city, Derna. The grooup -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- reportedly executed four people in Sirte recently and documented one of the killings in a video Monday that Reuters said it could not verify as authentic.
ISIS militants also were present in Benghazi and the town of Sabratha, Dayri said. “They have not yet seized oil fields, but we fear they might come to control several wells,” he added. “On Saturday, there was a call from their leaders in Iraq and Syria to reinforce their ranks in Libya. They want to make Libya a rear base.”
In 2011, the United Nations imposed an arms embargo on Libya. On Tuesday, Dayri called for the U.N. to lift that embargo so local groups could fight back against the Islamic State group. "We are not talking about sophisticated military equipment," he said, "but we need the minimum to fight terrorism in an adequate manner."