Members of the Libyan pro-government forces stand on a tank during their deployment in the Lamluda area, southwest of the city of Derna, Libya, June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
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Last month, local Islamist fighters reinforced by local civilians ousted ISIS from Derna on Libya's eastern Mediterranean coast, one of two bastions the militants had established in the North African oil-producing country.ISIS has benefited from Libya's anarchy.But ISIS was driven out of Derna after seven people were killed at a protest against the influx of foreign militants and the killing of a commander of the local Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade, allied with a former anti-Gadhafi militia in the town.A number of angry residents joined the Abu Salim Martyrs to help them expel ISIS from Derna, an Islamist hotspot even during Gaddafi's 42-year rule in which he suppressed political Islam.Mattia Toaldo, policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said ISIS would now probably focus on its other Libya power base – Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown on the country's central coast where ISIS has won unusual support from Gadhafi loyalists opposed to Libya's jostling new rulers.Clashes between ISIS and eastern army units aligned with the internationally recognized government outside Derna, and several car bombs going off inside the city, killing 10 people and blamed by residents on ISIS, suggest the military encirclement has not been effective.
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