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IS militants take over radio stations in Libyan city

IANS  |  Tripoli 

A group of gunmen took control of two radio stations in Libya's western city of Sirte, and aired statements of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, local residents said on Friday.

The armed group, claiming to be IS members, expelled all staff at Free Voice and Radio Mikdashi, and broadcast verses of Koran and IS propaganda, including speeches of IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the group's spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, Xinhua news agency reported citing a resident who declined to disclose his name.

Some jihadi groups' social web pages also circulated pictures showing armed men sitting in the recording studio.

Another Libyan national said the gunmen also took over the city council, and made it their headquarters.

Earlier, media reports suggested that the IS has already set up a permanent base near Sirte. Some militants paraded in recent weeks with their armed vehicles in nearby towns, waving their iconic black flag.

Libya is now deadlocked in a dogfight between the pro-secular army and Islamist militants. The turmoil makes an ideal hotbed and recruiting ground for terrorism.

On Jan 27, an IS affiliate in Libya targeted the biggest hotel in the capital of Tripoli, killing nine people and injuring dozens.

First Published: Fri, February 13 2015. 20:16 IST