17-27 May: BDB forces accused of links to jihadist groups

May 23, 2017 | Other Jihadi Actors

On 21 May, the Libyan National Army (LNA) released CCTV footage from the Brak al-Shatti airbase that appears to show that at least one of the attacking vehicles had al-Qaeda markings, specifically these markings refer to “Shember’s” group connected al-Qaeda in Mali. The footage seems to confirm depictions of the attack as a massacre with large scale-executions.

The LNA’s major assault on the last enclaves held by jihadist fighters in Benghazi continues with heavy shelling with airstrikes and artillery in addition to ground infantry forces. On 18 May, the LNA retook the Souq al-Arab in downtown Sabri. On 20 May, the LNA bomb disposal squad defused a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) set to detonate in the parking lot of a large shopping mall in Benghazi. On 21 May, Major Fadel al-Hassi, a field commander and highly iconic figure in the LNA’s Saiqa Special Forces died in an IED explosion in Sabri.

On 22 May, a video surfaced depicting the commander of LNA Saiqa Special Forces, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, who was recently accused of war crimes for his public executions of prisoners, instructing two of his subordinates to carry out the execution of two captured jihadists. The video was captioned as ‘the application of the death penalty on enemy combatants’. The two jihadists, one a confirmed member of Ansar al-Sharia, were captured on 20 March after they fled the “12 Flats” area of Ganfuda in Benghazi.