Results tagged “Libya”
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The death toll rose to at least 130 amidst heavy fighting in the Libyan Army's offensive to retake Benghazi from Islamist militias. Three jihadist leaders, including two Ansar al Sharia commanders and the head of the Brega Martyrs Brigade, are reported to have been captured by government forces. Southern Libya has become a haven for jihadist training camps and several Libyan Islamist groups have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State, while others are allied with the organization.
The Libyan military and the secular militia forces of Major General Khalifa Hafter conducted raids on the homes of Islamist militia leaders in Benghazi on Oct. 23, resulting in 29 deaths. An estimated 149 have died during fighting in the last week. According to one report, the Libyan Army met little resistance when it first entered the city on Oct. 22 and was welcomed by "cheers and applause by citizens in the al-Wahaishi and al-Salam neighborhoods." Meanwhile, Libya's newly appointed foreign minister has urged a diplomatic solution to the confrontation between Islamist militias and elected officials in Tripoli.
Libyan Army troops and militia forces under retired Major General Khalifa Haftar moved to retake Benghazi for the first time in two months. A special forces brigade and a tank brigade are meeting resistance from Islamist forces in the western portion of the city. The Libya Herald reported that Mohammed Al-Zahawi, leader of Ansar al-Sharia, "almost certainly" died last Thursday from wounds received in an earlier airstrike, though Ansar al Sharia has made no confirmation. A US State Department spokesperson urged Libyans to rein in militias and engage in political dialogue, stating "there's no military solution to Libya's problems."
Libyan government forces allied with rebel militia forces under General Khalifa Haftar are mounting an offensive to retake Tripoli from Islamist forces that captured the capital in August. On Oct. 21, Libyan special forces halted an offensive by Islamist militias aiming to take the airport in the city of Benina.
Sources said that Ansar al Sharia's leader for Benghazi, Mohammed al Zahawi, was wounded or killed in recent clashes at Benina Airport and has been taken to a Sirte hospital. The Islamic State is reportedly planning to start broadcasting from a TV station based in Sirte. Suspected Islamist gunmen vandalized a historic Sufi madrassa in Tripoli. The UN said 100,000 people have been displaced in recent weeks due to fighting near Tripoli.
Mohammed Al Zahawi, the commander of Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi, claimed that the city will soon be completely under the control of the Benghazi Revolutionaries' Shoura Council. An explosion outside a Benghazi hotel killed a man and wounded two others. Pro-government Zintani forces accused Libya Dawn of bombing a key bridge between Jebel Nafusa and Aziziya.
Operation Dignity bombed and sank a ship that was attempting to enter the port of Benghazi, after repeated previous warnings that any ship attempting to resupply the Benghazi Revolutionaries' Shoura Council would be bombed. Suspected extremists gunned down a popular radio DJ in Benghazi; it is the sixth assassination in the city in the past two days. The Islamic State recently announced the deaths of three Libyans killed in Syria while fighting for the terrorist organization.
The Shoura Council of Islamic Youth, a Derna-based Islamist group, declared its support for the Islamic State and its allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as caliph. In fighting over the past two days, 14 soldiers from Operation Dignity were killed and over 50 wounded trying to repel the advance of Ansar al Sharia on Benina Airbase in Benghazi. A senior foreign ministry officer was assassinated in Benghazi; not one person has been arrested for any of the over 100 murders that have been carried out in Benghazi over the past year or more. Benghazi's Jalal Hospital closed after clashes between Ansar al Sharia and local residents trying to evict the group. A British teacher kidnapped in Benghazi and held hostage for four months by the "Army of Islam" was released.
A double suicide car bombing attack on Saiqa special forces and Operation Dignity troops at Benghazi's Benina airbase has killed at least 12 people and wounded 60. Islamists also killed four troops in a separate clash in the city. The Rafallah Al-Sahati Brigade, which is part of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shoura Council and closely linked to Ansar al Sharia, has indicated support for the Benina attack. Grand Mufti Ghariani urged Islamist forces in Benghazi and Sebha to crush "outlaws" with "an iron fist." Murders continued in Benghazi. Militants in Ajdabiya released 30 Egyptian truckers who had been held hostage while their captors demanded the release of three Libyans jailed in Egypt for weapons smuggling.
A man was killed and three people were wounded in clashes that erupted after Benghazi residents attacked an Ansar al Sharia checkpoint. At least 13 people have been killed in three days of clashes between the Awlad Suleiman and Qaddadfa tribes in Sebha. Fighting in Derna between militants from the Ansar al Sharia-linked Abu Slim Martyrs Brigade and the Islamic State-linked Council of Islamic Youth killed 12 people last week; unknown assailants also killed a female security officer in the city.
At least five people were killed in clashes between the Islamist Libya Dawn forces and the Libyan national army in Tripoli. A retired security officer was murdered in Benghazi, where 30 people were assassinated last week. An Operation Dignity commander said the Islamic State is controlling Ansar al Sharia, the Revolutionary Council in Benghazi, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, and accused Tripoli's mayor of bringing in foreign fighters with the help of Turkey, Qatar, and Sudan; the commander alleged that convoys of fighters from Yemen are coming into the Libya via Sudan. A prominent writer who had been kidnapped by Islamists was released. Militants in Ajdabiya are holding 30 Egyptian drivers and their trucks hostage, demanding the release of a Libyan on trial in Egypt for smuggling weapons between Egypt and Libya. Grand Mufti Ghariani ordered an end to the UN-sponsored dialogue between the Parliament and the rival Islamist government headed by Omar al Hassi.