A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

BAAD - Ansar Al-Sharia (Libya) - 2012


Ansar Al-Sharia (Libya)

The Libyan branch of Ansar Al-Sharia was established following the death of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, which resulted in the release of some 20,000 prisoners some of who would eventually join the group.[2] Over the next year, it affirmed its Islamic fundamentalist and anti-Western ideology, going so far as to attack the American embassy in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.[3] Immediately following this, the residents of Benghazi ousted the group from the city. In early 2013, however, Ansar Al-Sharia returned to Benghazi, providing security and humanitarian services presumably so as to enter the residents’ good graces before resuming its violent activities.[4]

Ansar-Al Sharia operates primarily as a coalition of jihadist groups, with Sheikh Muhammad al-Zahawi serving as its primary leader alongside other senior leaders such as Ahmed Abu Khattalah.[5] Although the group’s loyalties to al-Qa’ida are ambiguous, it is believed to have received some material and financial support from al-Qa’ida.[6] As of January 2014, Ansar Al-Sharia is considered a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, though the United States has yet to take any formal counterterrorism actions against the group.[7] View full narrative

Quick Facts for 2012


4 (Total of 1998 through 2012)

Religious, Separatist

less than 200

Territorial Control:
Does Not Control Territory (0)

Funding through Drug Trafficking:

Sorry, but there are no organizational details available for this group at this time.


Primary Ideology

  • Ag = Anti-Globalization
  • An = Anarchist
  • En = Ethnic
  • Ev = Environmental
  • Le = Leftist
  • Re = Religious
  • Ri = Rightist
  • Se = Separatist
  • Su = Supremacist
  • Vi = Vigilante


  •  Ally
  •  Suspected Ally
  •  Rival
  •  Violence
  •  Mixed Relations


  •  Blue 0 - 1479 fatalities
  •  Green 1479 - 2958 fatalities
  •  Yellow 2958 - 4437 fatalities
  •  Orange 4437 - 5916 fatalities
  •  Red 5916 - 7396 fatalities

Lethality is calculated as the total number of fatalities from 1998-2012.


Icon sizes depict approximate relative sizes of the organizations.

  • Smallest 0 - 10 members
  •   11 - 100 members
  •   101 - 1000 members
  •   1001 - 10000 members
  • Largest > 10000 members

Other Notes

Icons with no color coding or ideology icon have no detailed data at this time, and are provided as relationship information only.