30 December 2013

Libya: Assassinations Escalate in Benghazi

Benghazi and Essam Mohamed in Tripoli — Recently retired security officer Colonel Muftah Hamid Najam was killed in a drive-by shooting while Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Ammami, a lecturer at Benghazi University, was shot dead in the Hay Assalam district.

Also on Sunday, security services found a decomposed headless body in the Hawari area. The corpse is believed to belong to Haji Attiya Al-Naaili, the father of a senior Saiqa brigade officer.

The 65-year-old man was kidnapped in November and his head was discovered near his son's home in Salem on December 17th.

The Sunday killings in Benghazi came on the heels of yet more assassinations last week.

Air Force Lt. Col. Mohamed Faraj was killed Friday morning outside Bab al-Salam Mosque in al-Salam neighbourhood, Benghazi.

Unknown gunmen on Thursday morning assassinated Lt. Col. Ahmed Fathi Swiri of the Military Supplies Department.

Commenting on the latest killings, Ahmed al-Senoussi, a 26-year-old employee, said, "This is an attempt to cause chaos in Libya."

Libyan defence ministry addresses security

Meanwhile, defence ministry spokesman Abdul-Razak Chabahi said Libya had signed an agreement with France to modernise the air force.

"The agreement was signed, and technicians were sent to study in France where they will train in a certain type of aircraft," he said. "We'll be supplied with modern French Mirages in the coming days."

He noted that borders would be secured by monitoring and locating targets via satellites and then the air force would intervene.

Checkpoints would be set up around the city, together with 40 mobile patrols, he said.

"Those who violate this will be held to account," he added. "We'll launch campaigns to search for unlicensed weapons."

Lobna al-Basha, a native of Tripoli and a saleswoman at a big market, said that "weapons have caused troubles in Libya".

"If there is no solution for that, chaos will continue no matter what they do," she added.

Khalifa Mohamed, an employee at a furniture company, said: "The situation is serious and we have to move fast and use an iron fist against all those who want to undermine the state."

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