Hundreds of bodies of foreign militants await repatriation from Libya

A fighter of Libyan forces stands atop the ruins of a house as the forces secure the last few buildings where Islamic State militants had been making a final stand, in Ghiza Bahriya district in Sirte, Libya December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Hani Amara

Vastavam web: Seven months after Libyan forces defeated Islamic State in the coastal city of Sirte, hundreds of bodies of foreign militants still lie stored in freezers as authorities negotiate with other governments to decide what to do with them, local officials say. The corpses have been shipped to Misrata, a city further to the west whose forces led the fight to defeat Islamic State in Sirte in December. “Our team removed hundreds of bodies,” a member of the Misrata organised crime unit dealing with the bodies told Reuters, his face masked to conceal his identity because of security concerns.

“This is the main operation which allows us to preserve the bodies, document and photograph them and also collect DNA samples.”Islamic State has now been defeated in its main stronghold in the Iraqi city of Mosul and is under pressure in its base in the Syrian city of Raqqa. But at the height of its territorial control it attracted recruits from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe to its ranks.In Tunisia alone, officials say more than 3,000 citizens left to fight in Syria, Iraq and Libya. Tunisians who trained in militant camps in Libya carried out two gun attacks on foreign tourists in 2015 that battered Tunisia’s vital tourism industry.