17:23 GMT19 February 2020
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    UN envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon claims that the ISIL extremist group exploits the political crisis in Libya to boost its influence in the country.

    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – The Islamic State (ISIL) extremist group exploits the political crisis in Libya to boost its influence in the country, UN envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon said Wednesday.

    The UN Security Council is holding an emergency session on the crisis in Libya.

    "The capture of public installations in Sirte and the attack last month on the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli reflect a growing ability and determination of the part of Islamic State to exploit the political crisis … to consolidate its presence and influence across Libya," Leon told the UN Security Council by video connection from Tunis.

    Leon said that extremist groups with radical ideologies have been active in the country since 2011, serving as platforms to mobilize support for Islamic State.

    "I have called for the next meeting of the political dialogue to finalize discussions initiated in Geneva on the formation of government of national unity and security arrangements to pave the way for a formal and comprehensive cessation of hostilities," he said.

    Libya is facing the worst wave of violence since the beginning of the 2011 civil war. Islamic State militants have made a major advance in the country. Internationally recognized authorities are fighting a rival self-proclaimed government and numerous militias, including ISIL-affiliated extremists.

    In early February, ISIL fighters claimed responsibility for several attacks in Libya and in recent weeks took over a state-run television station and two radio stations in the city of Sirte. Last week, the group's Libyan branch published footage showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians.


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