The following report is a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.
As part of efforts to increase the Islamic State's (ISIS) influence in Libya, operatives and supporters of the organization recently launched a campaign on Twitter aimed at recruiting new members from outside the country. Using the hashtag #Immigration to the Islamic State in Libya, they called upon Muslims to reach Libya and join the fighting in the ranks of ISIS there.
It should be noted that activity on this hashtag has intensified in recent days, increasing even more following the release of a video showing the February 15, 2015 beheading of Coptic Christians by ISIS forces in Libya. Those tweeting in the campaign are relying in doing so primarily on ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi's declaration of the Islamic State's expansion to Libya and his urging of Muslims to travel there and assist the fighting. Many of the participants in this campaign stressed the advantages of Libya as a major arena in the jihad against Europe thanks to its relative proximity to southern European cities such as Athens, Malta, and, primarily, Rome. One of the followers even argued that the distance between Libya and Italy allows Scud missiles to be fired at Rome, and even added a sketch to demonstrate his claim.
Below is a collection of tweets on the hashtag #Immigration to the [Islamic] State in Libya, encouraging Muslims to join the fighting in the ranks of the Islamic state in Libya
ISIS supporter Al-Gharib Al-Faresi (@alfaresi__25) posted a booklet published by the ISIS-linked Al-Battar Media Foundation. The booklet's authors make an emotional call to all Muslims to immigrate to Libya: "Libya's oases await you, its seacoasts await you, its deserts await you, its saffron-blessed mountains await you, weapons of various categories await you, all these and more await you on Libyan soil."
A Libyan ISIS operative who calls himself Al-Gharib Al-Libi (@ramk202216) sought to prod Muslims to go to Libya: "The Egyptian Army admitted helping the tyrants of Libya. When will you arrive, my monotheist brother, to help your brothers?" Al-Gharib Al-Libi added a map showing Libya's borders, writing: "Oh you who wish to mobilize, look at the territorial breadth of the borders and their width. If you pray to Allah and take action, Allah will not let you down."
ISIS supporter Al-Mullah Muhammad (@Aqsw2021) called upon Muslims residing in countries neighboring Libya and Sinai to arrive and help: "Emigrate oh young men from Egypt, Libya, Tunis, Algiers, Sudan and Mali, immigrate to the Islamic State in Libya and Sinai."
Libyan ISIS operative Abu Mouadh Al-Barqawi (@asd_zxc__) highlighted Libya's proximity to Europe as an advantage for waging jihad, noting: "The distance between Athens, Greece and Darnah is 589 km. The distance between Tripoli and Malta is 357 km." ISIS supporter Qalam Hurr (@gl_2050) responded to him, focusing on the distance between Libya and Italy: "The distance between Sirte and Rome is 1250 km, like the distance between Jeddah and Dammam. In other words, a Scud missile can reach Rome. The distance to the edge of Italy [its southern border] totals 450 km."
A Google map attached by one of followers showing that the distance between Sirte and Rome is within the range of a Scud missile
ISIS supporter Aghlab (@_3lab) as well referred to Italy noting: "If the news that the Italians intend to intervene militarily in Libya [is accurate] then they will become those who dig their own graves. The Libyans have not forgotten the blood of 'Omar Al-Mukhtar [the Libyan revolutionary who fought against the 20th-century Italian conquest]." An ISIS operative in Libya who goes by the handle Abu Osama Al-Barqawi (@gsg999h) wrote: "Hurry up and guarantee your place in the frontline and on the gateway to the conquest of Rome, with Allah's help."
Writing under the same hashtag, Egyptian ISIS supporter Abu Khaled Al-Masri (@eng_fellix ) inquired about how to reach ISIS in Libya: "Whoever has a certification from the brothers [ISIS operatives], please inform us about [the country] and explain to us how we can travel to there."
Following the February 15 release of the video of the beheading of the Egyptian Copts, the calls to emigrate to Libya intensified. Thus, for example, Al-Gharib Al-Faresi wrote: "Has Allah not healed our chests and the chests of all Muslims [in the beheading]? He slaughtered the worshippers of the Cross via our brothers in the Islamic State in Libya. So hasten to emigrate to Libya."
Shibl Al-'Adnani, who appears to be an ISIS operative in Libya, wrote: "[Foreign fighters], know that we are calling you. We've prepared the equipment, we've prepared the weapons for you, so hurry and come, you have no excuse to sit by idly. ISIS supporter Umm Al-Qada (@omarih_11) wrote: "Emigrate to the Islamic State in Libya. Your state has been established. Your Caliph has summoned you. What are you waiting for? When will you answer the call for mobilization?"
 See MEMRI JTTM report Islamic State (ISIS) Video Features Beheading Of 21 Copts In Libya, February 15, 2015.
 See MEMRI JTTM report Islamic State Caliph Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Says 'The March Of The Mujahideen Will Continue Until They Reach Rome', Welcomes Pledges Of Allegiance From Saudi Arabia, Yemen, North Africa, Announces New Provinces And Governors There, November 13, 2014; and MEMRI JTTM report Changing Dynamics In The Global Jihad Movement (3): The Growing Presence Of ISIS In Libya, January 29, 2015.