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IS Claims Misrata Attack on Libya Dawn

IS Claims Suicide Bombing in Libya
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IS Claims Suicide Bombing in Libya

On the western fringe of its self-declared caliphate, Islamic State militants detonated a car bomb near the Libyan city of Misrata Sunday, killing five people at a security checkpoint.

The attack targeted members of Fajr Libya, or Libya Dawn, the militia alliance that controls part of the politically fractured country, including the capital.

Khalifa Ghwell, prime minister of the Tripoli-based administration that rivals an internationally-recognized government in Tobruk for power, criticized what he described as outsiders bringing violence into Libya. He also urged a mobilization against the Islamic State.

"We will support all army, police and revolutionary forces to fight and chase those apostates who have come to Libya claiming they are representing Islam," Ghwell told Reuters. "Islam disowns them."

The Islamic State group has attacked the country multiple times since last year, reasserting its geographic reach from Iraq and Syria.

CIA Director John Brennan warned Sunday of Islamic State's sphere of influence beyond its current boundaries.

"(IS) is a threat not just in the Middle East and South Asia and African regions but also to Europe as well as to the United States,” Brennan told CBS program "Face the Nation."

The group continues to seize moments of political chaos to advance.

In Syria, where a civil war has claimed more dead in recent years than the Islamic State, activists allege military forces killed more than 100 people by dropping a barrel bomb on Aleppo Saturday.

Meanwhile, IS members have reportedly destroyed an empty prison that once held political dissidents in the central town of Palmyra, perhaps in what analysts describe as an attempt to gain favor among local residents.

Brennan said he advocates for a combination of military and political force to defeat the group, which also means "there's going to be a lot of bloodshed between now and then."

"We're not going to resolve this problem on the battlefield. We have to keep the pressure on them, but at the same time, there has a be a viable political process that is able to bring together the actors inside of Iraq and Syria, and for them to decide how they are going to be able to have a peaceful future."

But Syria analyst Jennifer Cafarella, of the Institute for the Study of War, says Islamic State forces must be weakened through military action before political solutions can be viable.

"My concern is actually not the ability to build political structures that will fill the vacuum, but actually to achieve military success on the ground," Cafarella told VOA. "The prospects for defeating ISIS in Syria at this time are incredibly low."

The U.S.-led coalition scaled back its air campaign against IS targets overnight, conducting four airstrikes in Syria and 13 in Iraq. The drop in strikes follows heavy coalition bombing in Iraq last week after the advance of IS fighters in Anbar province.

VOA's Katherine Gypson contributed to this report.