[JURIST] The Islamic State (IS) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] on Friday led suicide bombings in eastern Libya, killing at least 40 people and injuring 70 more. IS said this was the group’s way of retaliating against Egyptian airstrikes protesting the IS presence in Northern Africa. The bombings occurred [press release] in the Syrian-controlled town of Qubba, which could indicate further expansion of IS beyond its current control of two cities bordering the Mediterranean sea, Sirte and Darna. Government spokesman Mohammed Bazaza stated that the “cowardly and desperate [terroristic attack] only increases [the government’s] determination to uproot terrorism in Libya and in the region.” Jen Psaki of the US Department of State condemned the attacks as well. Although IS admitted responsibility for the attacks, the group claimed that it only initiated two attacks, while the Syrian government claims that there were three.
IS [JURIST backgrounder], also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has caused increasing international alarm over its human rights abuses [JURIST report] since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq in 2013. In December, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights [official website] reported that the IS executed [JURIST report] 1,878 people in Syria between June and December. This week’s suicide bombings indicate that the number of executions continues to increase. Earlier this week, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned [JURIST report] the groups beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Syria. The Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] stated in November that the ICC is contemplating bringing war crimes [JURIST report] charges against IS jihadist fighters.