Magharebia (Washington DC)

Libya: Benghazi Court Blown Up

Benghazi — An explosion Monday (January 6th) at a guard post outside a Benghazi courthouse killed one Libyan policeman and seriously wounded another, AFP reported.

Guard Mansour Mohamed al-Obeidi was killed in the early morning blast outside the Southern Benghazi Court in the al-Majouri neighbourhood.

His brother, Rabie Mohamed al-Obeidi of the traffic and licences department, was recently assassinated at al-Drabik intersection at Syria Street in Benghazi.

"Martyr Mansour, born in 1989, and martyr Rabie, born in 1992, were young men from the same family," explained Amina al-Tarhouni, 47. "All they wanted to do was protect the state and country, but, unfortunately the government didn't do anything. To radicals, they were apostates, but to us, they were unrightfully killed."

"Those killed today in Benghazi include a man whose body was found near Uzu hotel," al-Tarhouni added. "The body of an old man was found near Tripoli Bridge, and the body of a soldier was found near the al-Fadeal hotel. Then Mansour Mohamed al-Obeidi was killed when al-Majouri court was blown up."

In other security news from the embattled city, a 77-year-old man and a child were kidnapped in separate incidents, Libya Herald reported.

Gaith Omran Al-Garyani was abducted on Saturday, while on Sunday, four masked men kidnapped the six-year-old son of Kalima editor Mohamed Al-Mazoghi,

The little boy was grabbed while playing in front of his home in the Sabri area.

The number of kidnappings in the country, mostly for ransom, has reportedly surged in recent months.

"Those who are doing this are terrorist groups hailing from various countries, including Tunisia and Algeria," said Nevin al-Bah, a lawyer and rights activist.

She added that "those groups are wreaking havoc at Benghazi and Sirte streets under the pretext of applying God's Sharia. Meanwhile, the General National Congress (GNC) and interim government are still shamefully silent."

Dr Hanaa al-Sedik al-Qallal said, "The 60-member panel election will be held on the rubble of southern Benghazi court. Will it be an election without judges or courts? Where do the members of GNC and elected interim government live?"

But Colonel Hussein al-Fitouri, 56, said that security forces had been deployed to different areas of Benghazi. "We're now seeing security mobilisation in town, and the state of emergency will be declared as a precaution," al-Fitouri said.

"Takfirists are showing their teeth in Benghazi with the major mobilisation we're now seeing with the return of many Libyans from Syria and Mali," commented Walid Mohamed Wanis, a salesman at a food store.

He also claimed that there were "people from Tunisia and Algeria in Benghazi waiting for orders for what they say is hour zero to conquer Benghazi emirate."

"They are based at the February 17th battalion, but most of them are based at Si Faraj Farm and al-Quarsha, as per the statements of the intelligence agency in Benghazi on Sunday," he added.

Mostafa al-Sharkasi, spokesperson for the air force in the eastern region, said, "Exactly like we confronted Kadhafi's convoy from Benina and Tobruk airports, we are capable of confronting terrorism. We have pilots who are better than the Russians themselves, but we need support."

"I'm not talking about salaries or allowances, but about foreign support to be able to strike the strongholds of terrorism because it has become unbearable," the air force spokesman added.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Mahmoud said he expected the southern courthouse would be attacked after repeated bombings at the northern court.

"The scary thing is that the interior ministry didn't take any precautions to prevent that; it didn't even install surveillance cameras or tighten security measures around the court," Mahmoud said.

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