In an apparent attempt to beat the Islamic State at its own game of propaganda, a group in eastern Libya linked to al-Qaida has replicated HBO's popular series "Game of Thrones" by publicly humiliating and then hanging an ISIS commander to send a message to locals that sympathizing with ISIS would result in the same fate, The Daily Beast reports.
The jihadists in the port city of Derna are fighting to control the strategically important Libyan port, a city which has produced more fighters during the Iraq War to attack U.S. forces, as a proportion of its population, than any other in the Middle East, according to the Daily Beast.
(The Mujahideen Shura Council) "is all about messaging strength and projecting strength and basically showing they're an unstoppable force," terrorism expert Thomas Joscelyn told the Beast. "Here's an example where they lost."
The execution of the ISIS chief, an Iraqi named Abu-Ali al-Anbari, was ripped from the "Game of Thrones" script, according to two sources who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity and confirmed that U.S. government intelligence analysts had also seen footage of the killing.
Like the killing of character Cersei Lannister, the queen mother in the HBO series, al-Anbari was paraded naked through the streets before being taken to the gallows, where he was hanged.
"It was an apparently deliberate piece of propaganda, appropriating the terrifying public killing that have become ISIS' hallmark and using them on the group itself," according to The Daily Beast.
And killing al-Anbari "in such a visible way would also send a potent message to ISIS top leaders."
last month that al-Anbari rose through al-Qaida's ranks after having been tossed from another extremist Sunni group, Ansar al-Islam, for financial corruption. The Mosul native had no religious training and little knowledge of Sharia law but was considered "a brilliant military tactician."
Al-Anbari, according to the Beast, "may have been one of a number of veteran fighters whom terrorism analysts said have traveled in recent months from the battlefields of Iraq and Syria to help ISIS."
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