ISIS is planning a campaign to dominate Libya before sending fighters to southern Europe disguised as illegal migrants to wage more terror there, according to a published report.
The Daily Telegraph, citing a British anti-terror group that claims to have seen letters written by the group's supporters, said that ISIS hopes to use militiamen from its current strongholds in Syria and Iraq to overrun Libya before embarking on a campaign targeting both Europe's mainland as well as maritime shipping.
The letter is written by an ISIS propagandist using the name Abu Arhim al-Libim. He describes Libya, which has descended into chaos in the wake of the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi, as having "immense potential" for the jihadists.
"It has a long coast and looks upon the southern Crusader states, which can be reached with ease by even a rudimentary boat," the man writes. He also points out that the country is replete with weapons, many of them seized from Qaddafi's forces by rebels as the regime collapsed.
In describing the possibilities of attacking Europe, al-Libim discusses the number of ships brining migrants across the Mediterranean Sea illegally, then says "If this was even partially exploited and developed strategically, pandemonium could be wrought in the southern European states and it is even possible that there could be a closure of shipping lines and targeting of Crusader ships and tankers."
The Telegraph reports that more than 170,000 people arrived in Italy by boat in 2014, including thousands of Syrians fleeing the bloody civil war in that country. Italy's interior ministry has estimated that another 200,000 are waiting to arrive.
The report comes as the U.N. Security Council is set to meet in an emergency session on Wednesday. Egypt has pressed the council to take action after a video released by ISIS late Sunday showed the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry laid out Egypt's proposals for a resolution: Lift international restrictions on arms to Libya's "legitimate government" so it can defend itself, tighten restrictions on the flow of weapons and money to terrorist groups in Libya, support a peaceful political process toward the country's stability and end the occupation of Tripoli by militants. Militants should disband and disarm, he added.
The foreign minister recommended a coalition that is more expanded than the one now fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq. He did not rule out international troops on the ground as a consideration, and he indicated that Egypt will continue its airstrikes inside Libya against militants. "We will take those measures that are necessary to defend Egypt's interests and to protect our people," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.