Western states urge blacklist of Libya militants
France, Britain and the United States on Tuesday asked a Security Council committee to add Libyan Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia to a U.N. terror list for its ties to al-Qaeda.
Ansar al-Sharia is already on the U.S. terror list for its role in the September 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
A copy of the French-led request to the al-Qaeda sanctions committee was obtained by AFP.
Inclusion on the U.N. terror list means members of the group are subject to visa bans, asset freezes and an arms embargo, and the move more broadly cuts the group off from the political mainstream.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in September told a meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly that the group should face sanctions as part of efforts to prevent Libya from sliding further into violence.
In the request to the Security Council, the three countries asked that Ansar al-Sharia Benghazi and Ansar al-Sharia Derna be blacklisted, arguing that both groups have ties to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other extremist groups.
Since 2012, the Benghazi wing has operated several terrorist training camps mainly to help armed groups in Iraq and Syria and to a lesser extent in Mali, according to the request.
Twelve of the 24 militants who attacked the Algerian In Amenas gas complex in 2013 trained in the camps of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi, Libya’s second city, the documents said.
More recently, the group has conducted several attacks on Libyan security forces, it added.
Ansar al-Sharia Derna also took part in the 2012 attack on the U.S. mission and is operating camps in the northeastern Derna and Jebel Akhdar regions to train fighters for Iraq and Syria.
This month, Ansar al-Sharia Derna pledged allegiance to ISIS, the Islamist group that has seized control of territory in Iraq and Syria, according to the documents.
The Security Council has until Nov. 19 to raise objections to the proposal.
On Monday, Libyan pro-government forces launched an attack on districts held by the Islamist militias around Benghazi.
Libyan authorities have struggled to assert control across a country awash with weapons and powerful militias which ousted longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in a 2011 revolt.