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Seven people shot dead by IS in Libya's Derna following protests

At least 30 people were also wounded following protests against IS rule in the Libyan coastal city
Photos show large swathes of Derna protesting against Islamic State control (Twitter/@MuhamadAlDirri)

Seven people were shot dead in Derna on Friday by members of the Islamic State (IS) following a protest against the group's control of the city.

According to local residents, the protesters marched following Friday prayers towards the IS base when gunmen opened fire into the crowd.

Thirty people were also wounded, with the Al-Wehta hospital in Derna putting out an urgent call for all surgeons to immediately return to the hospital.

Locals reported that large swathes of the city came out in protest against the group, who have imposed strict interpretations of Islamic law and harsh punishments in areas under their control.

A protester who escaped from the scene told Libyan news site al-Wasat that the IS fighters used high-calibre ammunition, usually deployed against military equipment, to suppress the demonstration.

The killings in Derna come as Libyan militiamen on Friday detained 10 people from the Tunisian embassy in Tripoli, according to Tunisia’s foreign ministry.

A ministry statement said it denounced "the intrusion of an armed group in the offices of the Tunisian consulate in Tripoli and the detention of 10 staff of the mission".

The identity of those abducted, as well as the armed group, have not been released.

The attack is the sixth this year on diplomatic missions in the Libyan capital, which is dominated by the Misratan Led Alliance of Libya Dawn.

In April IS claimed responsibility for a bombing attack outside the Spanish embassy. Gunmen have also fired at the South Korean embassy killing two Libyan guards, and the Moroccan embassy has also been targeted by a bomb.

The IS group also claimed responsibility for a February twin bombing attack on the Iranian embassy in Tripoli. The Algerian mission in Libya was also attacked a month earlier.

Libya is in the midst of a brutal civil conflict, which has seen rival cities, tribes, militias and governments pitted against each other for control of Africa’s largest oil reserves.

The United Nations has been mediating talks between the various factions, in the hope of striking a national unity government, although draft agreements have been repeatedly rejected by parties to the conflict.

The political vacuum has allowed IS to expand, with the group taking grip of towns including Derna in the east and Sirte in the centre of the country. 

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