In Benghazi, fighters from the Benghazi Shura Revolutionary Council (BRSC) and ISIS are still holding out in the Ganfuda, Sabri and Souq al-Hout areas. On 4 October, at least 5 civilians were killed in indiscriminate shelling of residential areas in Benghazi, reportedly launched from Sabri & Souq al-Hout. The LNA air force responded with air strikes against these areas. The LNA has also begun conducting a series of raids in Benghazi and nearby towns against possible ‘terrorist accomplices’. On 3 October, a raid was launched in the towns of Shahat and Bayda, which resulted in a number of clashes with the targeted groups and death of some security forces.
The BRSC announced that some of its key commanders were killed on 6 October by air strikes in Benghazi. The statement does not name the dead, but says that one was the “the most prominent” commander in their campaign, likely referring to Mukhtar Burezeiza, the leader of Ansar Al-Sharia in Benghazi who took over when its founder Mohamed Al-Zahawi was wounded in fighting near Benghazi’s Benina Airport in October 2014.
In Tripoli, Nader Al Omrani, Dar al-Ifta member and notable Islamic scholar, was kidnapped last week. Omrani, who is a close associate and aide of Tripoli’s controversial Grand Mufti Sadeq al-Gheriani, was seized by armed men in two cars early on 6 October. The identity of his kidnappers is as yet unknown, but local sources say that the abduction is likely connected to the growing tensions and rifts within Tripoli between pro-GNA militias and Islamist hardliners. The Mufti said that responsibility for Omrani’s safety lay with the Presidential Council and the security forces in the city, warning that that such an unacceptable incident could lead to bloodshed in the country. Interestingly, just a day before, the Mufti accused Misratan gangs of kidnapping people in Tripoli for ransom, which adds another layer of complexity to the conflict dynamics in the capital.