15 – 21 Feb: Assassination Attempt on Serraj in Tripoli

Feb 21, 2017 | Libyan actors

On 20 February, a motorcade transporting Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, High Council of State (HCS) President Abdurrahman Swehli and Presidential Guard chief Najmi Nakoua was reportedly fired upon during a field visit to a security department in Tripoli. Although there are conflicting reports about the incident, local sources say no one was injured in the attack. The event has gained significant traction in local media as an assassination attempt.

On 19 February, Abdurazak al-Nadhouri, the Chief of Staff in eastern Libya, confirmed the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) introduction of a controversial travel ban preventing women under the age of 60 from travelling without a ‘mahram’ — male guardian. Al-Nadhouri said in a television interview that the decision was not motivated by religion or politics, but that it was a security measure. He claimed that women representing civil society groups, who frequently travel abroad for work, are being used by foreign intelligence services. Last week, the LNA invited a Salafist cleric from Saudi Arabia to visit LNA fighters and recently banned certain books on religious grounds. These moves have sparked widespread outcry and scorn across Libya.

On 14 February the Barasaa tribe denied rumors that it had defected from the LNA and reaffirmed its loyalty to Haftar. This followed an incident on 11 February when LNA units stormed the residence of Faraj al-Barasi, a former LNA officer, and detained a number of people there. Elders from the tribe reportedly intervened to de-escalate the situation.

On 19 February, heavy clashes broke out between anti-GNA Misratan militias, who are now part of the larger anti-GNA Libyan National Guard (LNG) faction, and pro-GNA militias led by Haithem Tajouri in Khallat al-Furjan, an area south of Tripoli. Other clashes took place in Gergarish in west Tripoli, where another loosely pro and anti-GNA confrontation is simmering. On 19 February, there was a fire at the ‘People’s Hall’ – a Qadhafi-era parliament building in central Tripoli – and on 20 February, the Seyaheyya area in west Tripoli was briefly blockaded after militants reportedly killed a local shopkeeper and fled. On 20 February, clashes also broke out between Misratan militias and local militias in Zliten, just west of Misrata, blockading the coastal highway. Reports indicate one fighter was killed and four injured.