16 – 23 February: alleged assassination attempt on the GNA Minister of Interior Fathi Bashaagha

Feb 24, 2021 | Libyan actors

This week was marked by the alleged assassination attempt of the Government of National Accord’s (GNA’s) Minister of Interior Fathi Bashaagha, following skirmishes in western and southern Libya earlier in the week during the 17 February celebrations.

On 16 February, celebrations began across Libya to mark the tenth anniversary of the 17 February 2011 uprisings against Qadhafi. In Sebha, unidentified assaults launched a series of mortars on a group of civilians gathering to celebrate the 17 February Revolution in the Mansheya neighbourhood, killing one and injuring at least 29. The identity of the assailants remains unknown. In Sirte, military police opened fire during a clash between pro- and anti-Qadhafi supporters following the celebrations, killing a civilian.

On 16 February, during patrols near Ghadduwah the 6 Brigade’s 116 Battalion and the Obari Security Room uncovered a mass grave of individuals believed to have been killed by ISIS. DNA samples have been collected to identify the dead. On 17 February, an ISIS hideout was discovered near the mass grave.

On 17 February, the Libya National Army’s (LNA) 166 Brigade was alleged to have killed a member of the Sirte Criminal Investigations Department.

On 21 February, Fathi Bashaagha, the GNA’s Minister of Interior, was on his way to his residence in the Janzour District at which point he was targeted by an armed militia vehicle which appears to have attempted a hit and run. Armoured vehicles and technicals were then deployed against the attackers, leading to one killed and two captured from amongst the assailants. The minister survived unscathed, but a member of his close protection force was injured. In a statement issued by Bashaagha, he stated that the attempt on his life was a complete failure and that one of the fighters involved was Radwan Hangari, a prominent Zawiyyan militiaman.