In Brief

Islamic State militants set up training camps in Libya

Western nations voice grave concern that IS plans to exploit chaos engulfing the North African state

The United States has identified and is monitoring "training camps" set up by Islamic State (IS) militants in eastern Libya, a top US general has revealed.

General David Rodriguez, who heads US Africa Command, said the training camps are not a target for American forces at the moment, describing them as "very small and nascent". He estimated that around 200 militants were at the camps and said US forces would continue to track activity in the area.

Speaking in Washington yesterday, Rodriguez said: "We'll have to just continue to monitor and watch that carefully in the future to see what happens or whether it grows on unabated."

Libya has suffered instability since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, reports the Daily Telegraph, with various tribes, militias and political factions, including several Islamist groups, fighting for power.

The IS militants behind the camps are believed to be existing militia members who have shifted their allegiance to the jihadist group rather than volunteers from outside Libya.

Western governments have expressed "grave concern" over the mounting violence and civil unrest in Libya, with experts warning that IS might exploit the chaos that has engulfed the North African state.

IS, which operates mainly in Syria and Iraq, has won support from a number of factions in Derna, on the coast in north-east Libya, around 1,500 miles from IS's self-declared capital, the Syrian city of Raqqa.

Last month, Human Rights Watch reported executions, beheadings and public floggings in Derna. The city was described as "fully under the control of fundamentalists", some of whom had affiliated with IS.

The Libyan air force has conducted air strikes against targets in Derna on behalf of the elected government, while Islamist militants have launched suicide attacks in other Libyan cities, such as Tobruk and Benghazi.

The US and its allies have been conducting airstrikes against IS in Iraq and Syria for several months.

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