Islamic State ‘planning to use Libya as gateway to Europe’

The jihadists hope to flood Libya with Isil militiamen who will then pose as migrants on people trafficking vessels heading to Europe Photo: Marcello Paternostro/AFP

Islamic State militants are planning a takeover of Libya as a “gateway” to wage war across the whole of southern Europe, letters written by the group’s supporters have revealed.

The jihadists hope to flood the north African state with militiamen from Syria and Iraq, who will then sail across the Mediterranean posing as migrants on people trafficking vessels, according to plans seen by Quilliam, the British anti-extremist group.

The fighters would then run amok in southern European cities and also try to attack maritime shipping.

The document is written by an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) propagandist who is believed to be an important online recruiter for the terror in Libya, where security has collapsed in the wake of the revolution that unseated Colonel Gaddafi in 2011.

The video, which prompted Egypt to launch retaliatory bombing raids on Isil positions in Libya, included footage of a khaki-clad militant pointing a bloodstained finger northwards, declaring: “We will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission.”

The Isil propagandist, who uses the alias Abu Arhim al-Libim, describes Libya as having “immense potential” for Isil. He points out with relish that it is awash with weapons from the Libyan civil war, when large quantities of Col Gaddafi’s arsenals were appropriated by rebels. Some of those weapons came from Britain, which supplied the Gaddafi regime with machine guns, sniper rifles and ammunition during his final years in power, when he was seen as an ally against Islamist terrorism…

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