On March 9, a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) blew up at a checkpoint of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the Bauabat al-Steen area of the Ajdabiya district in northern Libya.
Head of the Media Unit in Ajdabiya Security Directorate Mustafa Boufjara told Africa Gate News that two civilians and a soldier of the LNA’s 152 Battalion were injured in the attack.
On March 10, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq confirmed that ISIS had been behind the suicide attack. Amaq also claimed that several LNA soldiers had been killed and four LNA vehicles had been destroyed in the attack.
ISIS cells conducted a similar attack with a VBIED against a checkpoint of the LNA in the Jufra district on February 21. That incident resulted in the killing of five LNA soldiers. Local observers said back then that ISIS had been trying to capture oil fields in Jufra.
Unlike Jufra, Ajdabiaya is not an oil rich area. However, the coastal district hosts one of the main oil refinery plants in Libya along with a large oil storage facility, which could explain why ISIS seeks to expand its influence there.
Oil is a vital resource for ISIS cells in southern Libya, as it could supply them with the money they need to reorganize and rearm their units in order to expand their influence.