A member of the Libyan pro-government forces stands in front of the ruins of a shopping mall in Benghazi.
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The attack bore all the traits of ISIS in Iraq.Far from the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, ISIS has steadily grown in Libya's chaos, controlling the city of Sirte, and worrying Western governments who fear it can only become stronger in the postrevolution mess.While Libya's turmoil and history of jihad offered fertile ground, ISIS has run up against the heavily armed factions and rival Islamists already in place.Even as they lay claim to Sirte, Libya's ISIS followers have been ousted from Derna city by local fighters, and have shown they cannot hold ground or muster the finances and oil resources they benefit from in Iraq.Security sources in Tripoli and Misrata estimate ISIS has at least 500 fighters inside Sirte, and numbers are growing thanks to the arrival of foreign recruits.ISIS claimed both of the attacks, though they may have been tied to another group.So far, ISIS has carried out mostly hit-and-run strikes or high-profile attacks such as the Tripoli prison assault or the attack on the Corinthia hotel in the capital, which killed nine people including a French national and an American.Twice in the last month, though, residents in Sirte say they saw unidentified warplanes attacking districts controlled by ISIS.
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