Isis 'could be close to reaching Mediterranean', former Libyan prime minister claims

Ali Zeidan expressed concerns Isis would try to take over territories in Libya

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The Independent Online

Isis could reach the Mediterranean if order is not restored in Libya, the country’s former prime minister has reportedly suggested.

Ali Zeidan warned Libya’s fractured government and its access to weapons and ammunition seized during the fall of Colonel Gaddafi has made it more susceptible to the activities of jihadists, according to The Times.

The country has seen fierce fighting between rival militias since Gaddafi was overthrown during the 2011 Arab Spring.

Mr Zeidan fled to Europe after losing a vote of confidence in parliament as the country struggled to fill the power vacuum created by Gaddafi’s ousting.

Voices: Libya is imploding into chaos and violence

Speaking during a visit to London last week, he expressed concerns Isis would try to take over territories in Libya as unrest in the country continues.  “They are growing. They are everywhere,” he added.

Mr Zeidan also reportedly suggested Isis had a growing presence in some of the bigger cities and was trying to recruit fighters from rival Islamist groups.

The Times reports that he “appeared to express concerns” Isis might be close to extending its reach to the Mediterranean.

He spoke after Aref Ali Nayed, Libya’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said Isis’s presence in Libya is increasing “exponentially”.

Mr Zeidan urged the international community to take this seriously.

“In Libya, the situation is still under control,” he said. “If we leave it one month or two months more I don’t think you can control it. It will be a big war in the country and it will be here in Europe as well.”

Isis has already declared a 'caliphate' in parts of Syria and northern Iraq. A US-led coalition bombing campaign against the group was recently intensified after it burned alive a Jordanian pilot and released footage of his death.

The death of American hostage Kayla Jean Mueller was confirmed this week after Isis claimed she had been killed in a Jordanian air-strike.