UN Security Council adds Libyan Islamists to terror list
The UN Security Council on Wednesday added to its terror list a Libyan Islamist group accused of involvement in the September 2012 attack on the US mission in Benghazi that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans.
The Security Council slapped sanctions on Ansar al-Sharia for its ties to Al-Qaeda, diplomats said, with an arms embargo, assets freeze and global travel ban targeting the extremists going into force at the request of Britain, France and the United States.
The measure targets Ansar al-Sharia Benghazi and its sister group Ansar al-Sharia Derna, which both have links to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other violent extremist outfits.
In October, Ansar al-Sharia Derna pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS), the Islamist group that has seized control of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Since 2012, the Benghazi wing has operated several training camps mainly to help armed groups in Iraq and Syria and to a lesser extent in Mali, according to the request filed by the three countries.
Twelve of the 24 jihadists who attacked the Algerian In Amenas gas complex in 2013 trained in the camps of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi, Libya`s second city, 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 US mission and is operating camps in the northeastern Derna and Jebel Akhdar regions to train fighters for Iraq and Syria.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in September told a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that the group should face sanctions as part of efforts to prevent Libya from sliding further into violence.
Diplomats said the blacklisting of Ansar al-Sharia would help sideline hardliners at a time when the United Nations is engaged in dialogue with various Islamist militias and the government on restoring order in Libya.
Libyan authorities have struggled to assert control across a country awash with weapons and powerful militias after the ouster of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a 2011 revolt.
Libya`s internationally recognized government has been forced to take refuge in the country`s far east to escape a mainly Islamist coalition which seized control of Tripoli at the end of August.