2 December 2013

Libyan Army Fights Back

Photo: Mohammed El Shaiky/Xinhua
A scene of clashes in Benghazi (file photo).

Benghazi — A spate of targeted assassinations and clashes rocked Benghazi and Derna over the weekend.

The latest attack targeted Libyan army officer Salah Fraj al-Dursi, killing the man and injuring his teenage son on Sunday (December 1st), AFP reported.

On Saturday, a security source said unidentified assailants gunned down a soldier outside his home and attacked a special forces' base in Benghazi.

In Derna, long seen as a bastion of radical Islamists, dozens of residents blocked roads, burned tyres and called for a strike to protest against insecurity in the city.

Some protestors were injured by a "gelatin" bomb, thrown into the anti-Ansar al-Sharia demonstration on Friday. Al-Saiqa Special Forces turned out to protect demonstrators, who exceeded one thousand people.

Meanwhile, Al-Saiqa forces arrested three people from the city of Derna in possession of weapons, bombs and a large amount of money last week. The trio fired at the Barqa forces manning Barses Gate and accused army personnel of being apostates.

"The people who were arrested belong to Ansar al-Sharia. They are now in a safe location and have not fled," al-Saiqa member Ahmed Abdali told Libya al-Ahrar.

"When we stopped them at the gate and tried to seize their car, they tried to blow themselves up but we discovered the matter and took control of the situation," he added.

"We confiscated weapons, equipment, 50,000 Libyan dinars and a video showing the execution of Libyan army officers," Abdali concluded.

In a telephone conversation, an Information Office of al-Saiqa representative told Magharebia that: "When Naval Special Forces tried to transport the captured suspects, they were ambushed by 15 armed cars from the region that resulted in the death of three members of the Navy and the wounding of two."

The Information Office also confirmed the aerial bombing of three locations in the east of the country after bloody clashes with Ansar al-Sharia.

"What I care about is achieving things on the ground and not with words only. Military personnel can hardly fill the gaps and the police have begun to get out into the streets. The situation in Benghazi is a war against extremism and terrorism." Amal Alsoiei, a Tripoli high school teacher said.

The Teacher "wished rebels would cooperate with the state in building the army instead of engaging in confrontations and to strive to build Libya".

Commenting on the instability, Colonel Wanis Bukhmada noted that troops in Tobruk, Derna, Beyda, Marj and Ajdabiya were getting ready to move to Benghazi to fight. He called on the people to unite.

Bukhmada also called on the GNC and the government to face their responsibilities and asked them to make their position clear with regard to what is happening in Benghazi.

He said, "In plain Arabic, are they going to declare war on al-Qaeda or not? Because the issue has become bigger than the protection of a city, the issue now concerns the nation as a whole."

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