A helicopter carrying three French soldiers crashed near Benghazi, Libya on July 17, killing the Frenchmen and their Libyan counterparts on board. A new jihadist front called the Benghazi Defense Brigades quickly claimed credit, saying its fighters downed the helo with a shoulder-fired missile. French President Hollande said it was an “accident.” Either way, jihadists and Islamists are now rattling their sabres at France.
Mohamed al Zahawi’s family members have told the press that he has died due to wounds suffered in fighting last year. Zahawi has been the leader of Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi. Unconfirmed rumors of his death have circulated for months.
The fighting in Benghazi has escalated in recent days after the former Libyan general Khalifa Haftar made a renewed push to rid the city of jihadists. The Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, however, seems to be pushing back.
Libya Islamists reject dialogue
The Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, an umbrella group that includes the al Qaeda-affiliated Ansar al Sharia, has launched a coordinated attack on forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar.