Magharebia (Washington DC)

25 April 2014

Libya Raids Benghazi Arms Bazaar

Benghazi — Benghazi police this week raided the infamous Jenehein market and arrested a large number of drug and weapons dealers.

"Weapons and narcotic pills were seized during the raid, which ended without casualties in the ranks of the joint force, which included the army, police and revolutionaries," Benghazi Joint Security Room spokesman Ibrahim al-Sharaa said about the Sunday (April 20th) operation.

"The detainees are being questioned now, and the necessary legal actions will be taken against them," al-Sharaa added. "The next days will carry more good news to Benghazi, God willing."

Meanwhile, Libya's ambassador to Bahrain, Fawzi Abdel Aal, said, "After Jordan's ambassador to Libya Fawaz al-Aytan and another Tunisian diplomat were kidnapped in Tripoli, nobody can deny that al-Qaeda has penetrated Libya."

He added that al-Qaeda was "responsible for the current crisis in the country".

Libyans interviewed by Magharebia warmly welcomed news of the Jenehein raid, seeing it as a move towards restoring order in the town.

"Hats off to those who took these steps and we wish them well," said Abdallah al-Sarmani, a 37-year-old teacher. "That market was a hideout for all activities that are against the law, religion and morals. The place was also used to sell contraband, stolen items and all suspicious commodities."

In his turn, computer engineer Majdi Hasan al-Agouri, 27, happily said, "Extremists will die of outrage because of this step that was taken by the police and army with the help of some revolutionaries. I hope the sleeping government will support them."

"More importantly, we need the support of friendly countries to combat crime in Libya, which was made up to serve the interests of extremists and those supporting them in the GNC and failing government," al-Agouri added.

Salma al-Houni, 41, a doctor, said, "For a while now, we haven't heard such good news, i.e. the elimination of those who destroy our youths with their poisons in the so-called Jenehein market. I pray to God to strengthen the police and army and protect them from bombings and assassinations; they have had enough of terrorism."

Asmahan Nasrallah, a 29-year-old nurse, concurred: "This is a good step to arrest the criminals and drug and contraband dealers in town. However, I hope they will continue to combat terrorism and that this won't be just a one-time effort."

"The most important thing is that they continue in this path; otherwise those criminals will return to spread corruption again if they find any vacuum," she added.

In his turn, 23-year-old salesman Moetaz al-Manfi told Magharebia, "These efforts are considered the first steps to establish security and safety and to build the new Libya. The police have already warned citizens not to take their weapons and move around town with them."

Faraj Elourfi, 53, a lawyer, noted that there were plans to send Libyan youths to Europe for intensive security training.

"The goal of this step is to rehabilitate them to work as professional soldiers in the Libyan armed forces and help build the new Libya," he said.

"Some young men are currently receiving training in Turkey and Sudan as well in a bid from the Defence Ministry to strengthen the Libyan army, put an end to security chaos and stop illegal immigration which has gone off limits, especially in southern Libya, which is almost occupied by Chad now," he added.

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