Other 8 Nov 16

Nov 8, 2016 | Other Jihadi Actors

In Tripoli, tensions are escalating between the Tripoli’s counter-terrorism Special Deterrent Force (RADA) and suspected hard-line Islamists affiliated with the BRSC. On 5 November, two of RADA’s commanding officers were assassinated by unknown assailants outside their homes in Tripoli. This led to rapid mobilisation of RADA forces around the city. The BRSC announced it was opening a branch in Tripoli this week. Tensions have been simmering between RADA and hard-line Islamists loyal to Sheikh Sadeq al-Ghariyani for a number of months. RADA’s counter-terrorism operations have already targeted a number of BRSC militants and affiliates in Tripoli, accusing them of being directly linked with ISIS.

In Benghazi, fighting continues in the Imarat al-Saneya area of Ganfuda in south west Benghazi, with heavy artillery and airstrikes deployed by Libyan National Army (LNA) forces against jihadi fighters throughout the week. There is also intermittent fighting in Sabri and Souq al-Hout, in central Benghazi, where Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council (BRSC) and ISIS militants are still resisting LNA advances. On 4 November, a would-be suicide bomber was shot dead by the LNA in Sabri before he was able to detonate the explosives he was wearing. On 6 November, the BRSC fired Grad missiles on the Benina district.

On 4 November, there was an attempt to kill the head of the Magharba tribe, Salah Al-Atewish, in Benghazi. Al-Atewish is the tribal chief who led the social de-legitimisation of Ibrahim Jadhran amongst his tribal forces in the oil crescent. The assassination attempt is being linked by informed observers to claims that the GNA’s acting defence minister, Mahdi al-Barghathi is forming an alliance with fighters loyal to Ibrahim Jadhran, as well as jihadi  ‘Benghazi Defense Brigades’ (BDB) militias (specifically those under Mustafa al-Sharksi, Ziyad Belam, Ismail Salabi and Muftah Hamza). Barghathi himself branded the BDB ‘terrorists’ only two months ago.