A sniper from Misrata fires toward Daesh positions in Sirte, Libya. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo, File)
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A series of military victories over extremist Islamic groups along Libya's Mediterranean coastline has forced hundreds of militants, including Daesh (ISIS) fighters, to seek refuge in the vast deserts of the North African nation, already home to militias from neighboring countries, cross-border criminal gangs and mercenaries.Others, she explained, were active around Sirte, staging occasional attacks against their adversaries.Going forward, she said, Daesh remnants will likely try to influence and win over groups opposed to Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the Egyptian-backed commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army who has been fighting militants.Egypt has said Daesh militants fighting its security forces in the Sinai Peninsula receive arms and fighters from Libya. It said militants behind recent deadly attacks against Christians were trained in Libya and sneaked into Egypt across the porous desert border.Haftar has sought to drive out Islamic militants and bring the center and south under his control – but with limited success.Most of the militants who managed to flee the assault on Sirte last year are thought to have made it near this town in central Libya.
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