Daesh (ISIS) has strengthened its grip in its Libyan stronghold Sirte as new recruits and foreign fighters join its ranks while world attention focuses on Iraq and Syria.

Experts and sources in Libya say Sirte has become a new focal point for the militant group as it comes under increasing pressure in its traditional Iraqi and Syrian power bases.

“It is clear ‘ISIS central’ made an investment on Libya a long time ago,” in a strategy dating back almost two years, said Mattia Toaldo, policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Foreign fighters from North Africa are increasingly flocking to Sirte rather than going all the way to Syria.” […]