ISIS fighters fleeing Sinai for Libya, watchdog says

Egypt's semi-official religious watchdog Dar al-Ifta on Monday (December 4th) warned that "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) militants in Sinai are fleeing to Libya, Egypt’s Ahram Online reported.

Dar Al-Ifta’s Fatwa Observatory based its assessment on the latest messages from ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to his fighters in Libya, the watchdog said in a Monday report.

The Observatory, which specialises in tracking militant statements on social media, said al-Baghdadi’s messages reveal that ISIS elements are suffering from low morale after recent strikes against the group in Sinai.

They also indicate a wave of ISIS militants fleeing to Libya to escape the Egyptian army and police crackdown in Sinai, a movement that the group's leader is attempting to halt.

"Al-Baghdadi's messages revealed orders to kill ISIS members escaping from Sinai to stop this wave of fleeing," according to the Observatory.

"The messages from the ISIS leader constitute a main strategy of centralisation in Egypt, while maintaining a strategic presence in the Sinai Peninsula, as well as scattering in other Egyptian governorates to evade security strikes and to maintain the flow of logistical and technical assistance in the battle against Egyptian security forces, considering Sinai as the focus point and springboard of the terror group in Egypt," the report said.

The Observatory also said al-Baghdadi's messages reveal the group has been hit by "fatal disarray" after recent failures in Sinai.

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