11-17 October: Misratan security forces arrest two senior BDB leaders on links to terrorist groups

Oct 18, 2017 | Other Jihadi Actors

The ISIS attack in Misrata earlier this month has provoked city officials to clamp down against Islamist hardliners and suspected ISIS collaborators. Clashes broke out between hard-line fighters affiliated with Islamist factions and Misratan security forces on 11 October, during a security operation in al-Sakt area south of Misrata city. Thirteen people were arrested as suspected ISIS members or collaborators, including two senior leaders of the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB): al-Saadi al-Nawfali and Brayyek al-Masreya. Rabee Mohammed Mousa Faraj al-Shaaeri, reportedly a member of the Ajdabiya Shura Council, died on 15 October from wounds sustained during the clashes. A key commander of Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council, Mohammed al-Nous, was also reportedly arrested in Misrata on 14 October after he was found hiding under a fake name.

Ahmed Abu Khattala is currently on trial in Washington D.C., for his alleged involvement in the September 2012 attack on the US Special Mission in Benghazi that killed 4 Americans. On 12 October, a Libyan military commander’s recorded video testimony was played in court, though his identity was not revealed because of security concerns for him and his family. In the recording, the witness claimed he heard Abu Khattala “incite” dozens of revolutionaries at a meeting in Benghazi by speaking out against an alleged US intelligence post in the city. He added that just a few days before the attacks, Abu Khattala told him of his plan to attack the US Special Mission and requested armed vehicles, which the commander said he interpreted as a message not to interfere. Nevertheless, the witness’s credibility, motivation, and actions have been questioned due to social media posts that allegedly show his bias and extreme stance against Islamist militants.