A Certain Sort of Absurdity: the repatriation of corpses

Seven months after Libyan forces defeated Islamic State in Sirte, hundreds of bodies of foreign militants are still stored in freezers as authorities negotiate with other governments to decide what to do with them, local officials say.   The corpses have been shipped to Misrata, a city further to the west whose forces led the fight to defeat Islamic State in Sirte in December 2016.

Allowing the bodies to be shipped home to countries such as Tunisia, Sudan and Egypt would be sensitive for the governments involved, wary of acknowledging how many of their citizens left to fight as jihadists in Iraq, Syria and Libya.   “Our team removed hundreds of bodies,” a member of the Misrata organised crime unit dealing with the bodies told Reuters, his face masked to conceal his identity because of security concerns.

“This is the main operation which allows us to preserve the bodies, document and photograph them and collect DNA samples
At the height of its territorial control, [ISIS] attracted recruits from the Middle East, North Africa and Europe to its ranks.   In Tunisia, officials say more than 3,000 citizens left to fight in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Excerpts from  Hundreds of IS corpses await repatriation from Libya, Reuters, July 24, 2017

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