Protestors threaten Italian oil facilities and air base in Libya over Israel

Oct 19, 2023 | Libyan actors

On 19 October, a demonstration took place in front of the Italian base at Misrata airport. Salah Badi, commander of the hardline al-Samoud militia from Misrata, gave Italian troops in Libya 48 hours to leave the country, threatening to kick them out if they did not leave. On 21 October, Badi again called on the ‘Italian troops’ to leave the country immediately as the ultimatum he issued had expired. The situation around the Italian field hospital at Misrata airport has been tense, but at the time of writing on 24 October, Italian personnel remain at the base and there had been no clashes or violence.

On the evening of 22 October, on the orders of Prime Minister Abdul Hameed Dabaiba, there was a meeting between the mayor of Misrata Mahmoud Muhammed al-Soqotri and the commander of the Misrata Joint Force Omar Abu Ghadada to discuss Badi’s threats against the Italians at Misrata Air Base. After the meeting, it was stated that only the Libyan state could end the stay of foreign troops in Libya. Any action to the contrary would be rejected. On PM Dabaiba’s orders, the 24th Infantry Battalion moved into position at the entrance to and around Misrata Air Base.

On 23 October, the Misrata Municipal Council stated that it had met with the leadership of Misrata Air Base and Air College and they have reached a joint decision on the presence of foreign soldiers at the Air College and in the territory of Misrata city. The council said that given the forces present at the Air College of Misrata are few in number and have specific tasks to perform as part of the training, their presence is useful at the moment. When their mission is accomplished, the foreign soldiers will leave, it said.

In response to the Misrata Municipality’s statement, Badi called for a demonstration demanding the withdrawal of all Italian, British, American, and Turkish soldiers from the city. At the same time, Badi has extended his ultimatum for withdrawal, which has already expired.

Later on 23 October, there was reportedly an assassination attempt made on Salah Badi with firearms near al-Hamiya Junction in Misrata. Badi remained unharmed. A member of Badi’s al-Samoud Brigade has accused the Joint Operation Force of being behind the – alleged – assassination attempt on Badi. However, Badi himself, speaking at Martyr’s Hall, denied that an assassination attempt had been made on him or that he had been arrested