Tag Archives: libya

ISIS Bombs Foreign Ministry in Libya, Killing Three.

Suicide attackers storm Libyan foreign ministry in Tripoli, killing at least three. ISIS claims responsibility.

Diplomatic Security Sit-Rep 12/28/2018B

DAR Note: Our Trusted source on the Ground in Tripoli has reported that the current situation in Libya is worse than it has been since 2014. Tribal Clashes and are approaching a full-scale civil war. A terrorist element is also engaged in an active campaign to discourage all foreign powers from having a presence or influence inside of Libya. Most nations have already withdrawn from the country.

Suicide attackers on Tuesday stormed the Libyan foreign ministry in the capital Tripoli, killing at least three people including a senior civil servant, the authorities said, according to AFP.

21 other people were wounded in what authorities said was a suicide attack carried out by “terrorists”.

A car bomb exploded near the ministry, prompting security forces to rush to the scene, said special forces spokesman Tarak al-Dawass.

A suicide bomber then blew himself up on the second floor of the building while a second attacker died when a suitcase he was carrying exploded, he added.

A third assailant, who was unarmed and wearing a bulletproof vest, was killed by security forces outside, said Dawass.

The Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group later claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Reuters.

The group said in its propaganda news agency, Amaq, that three of its members carried out the attack.

Foreign Minister Tahar Siala said one of the dead was senior diplomat Ibrahim al-Shaibi who headed a department in his ministry.

Libya has been rocked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi, with two rival authorities and multiple militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

As a result, the country has become a haven for jihadists and has experienced multiple terrorist attacks in recent years.

ISIS took advantage of the chaos to gain a foothold in the coastal city of Sirte in 2015.

Forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) regained control of Sirte in December 2016 after eight months of deadly fighting.

Since then, some jihadists have returned to the desert in an attempt to regroup and reorganize.

Last year, the Libyan jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia, which is accused by Washington of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed the ambassador and three other Americans, announced its “dissolution”.

Ansar al-Sharia is one of the jihadist groups that sprung up in Benghazi in the chaos following the death of Qaddafi. Members of the group overran the city in 2014 and later declared authority over the coastal city of Darna.

Most of Ansar al-Sharia’s members have defected to ISIS in recent years.

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Libyan militant cleared of US envoy’s murder in Benghazi, convicted of terror

Benghazi (AFP)
An armed man waving his rifle as buildings are engulfed in flames inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi on 11 September 2012 (AFP)

A US jury on Tuesday acquitted accused militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah of the most serious charges he faced in connection with a 2012 attack on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya that killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The jury in US District Court for the District of Columbia found Khatallah guilty on only four of the 18 counts he faced and acquitted him on murder and other charges, according to the Justice Department.

He was convicted on one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, one count of providing material support to terrorists, one count of maliciously destroying property and one count of using and carrying a semi-automatic weapon during a violent crime, according to a spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

Ahmed

The jury reached its verdict after five days of deliberations.

Khatallah is the first person to be tried in connection with the 2012 attack in Benghazi. A second person alleged to be involved, Mustafa al-Imam, made his first court appearance earlier this month.

The attack, which coincided with the 11th anniversary of 9/11, was carried out by some 20 men armed with grenades and heavy weapons.

Stevens and the second State Department official, Sean Smith, died of smoke inhalation after the consulate caught fire, while the two CIA contractors, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, were killed in the firefight by mortar rounds.

The case marks a major test of the government’s ability to capture and try alleged terrorists in civilian courts rather than military proceedings.

Prosecutors acknowledged that Khatallah did not directly participate in the attack on the US consulate or nearby CIA annex. Rather, they sought to convince the jury that he helped orchestrate it behind the scenes.

Khatallah was captured in 2014 by US military and FBI officials in Libya and transported to the United States aboard a Navy vessel.

He was first questioned by US intelligence officials and later by the FBI. Khatallah waived his right to speak first with an attorney, and prosecutors used his statements in the trial.

They also presented evidence including phone records showing that the defendant made calls to his associates right before they were captured on grainy videos participating in the attack and testimony from a variety of witnesses.

Defence attorneys for Khatallah said the witnesses lacked credibility, especially one witness who was paid $7 million to inform on their client and lure to him the place where he was captured.

In August, the court ruled against his lawyers’ motion to suppress whatever he told his interrogators as evidence because his rights to remain silent, knowing the charges against him, and having a lawyer present were violated.

His lawyers also argued that the lengthy 13-day trip by ship back to the United States was part of a scheme to extract information from him without legal protections.

Khatallah faces a statutory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for each of the two terrorism charges, 20 years for the property destruction charge and 10 years for the firearms offence.

The Benghazi attack led to a political firestorm in Washington that factored into the 2016 presidential elections, where Republicans repeatedly accused then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton of failing to adequately protect the diplomatic compound.

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Tunisia Ambassador’s Secretary Kidnapped in Libya

Members of the coast battalion of the Libya Shield Force Western Brigade man a checkpoint in the western suburbs of the city of Tripoli

The secretary to the Tunisian ambassador in Libya has been kidnapped, the foreign ministry in Tunis said on Saturday.

According to an embassy source, the incident occurred on Friday when the kidnappers forced Mohamed bin Sheikh into their vehicle, which had stopped his car in the Ain Zara suburb of eastern Tripoli.

The ministry said it was in contact with Libyan authorities to obtain more information and to step up efforts to secure Sheikh’s release.

Tunisia was urging Libyan authorities “to ensure the protection of all employees and agents of diplomatic missions and consulates in Libya,” it said.

Libya has been struggling to establish security since its 2011 armed revolt which overthrew longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi.

With the country awash with weapons, the authorities have struggled to integrate militias into a regular army or police force.

 

 

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Rebels Kidnap Libya’s Prime Minister

Gunmen from a former rebel faction kidnapped Libya’s prime minister on Thursday in reprisal for the government’s role in the U.S. capture of a top al Qaeda suspect.

Two years after a revolution ended the 42-year rule of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is in turmoil, with its vulnerable central government and nascent armed forces struggling to contain rival tribal militias and Islamist militants who control parts of the country.

The militia, which had been hired by the government to provide security in Tripoli, said it “arrested” Ali Zeidan after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed Libya’s role in the weekend capture in the city of Abu Anas al-Liby.

“His arrest comes after … (Kerry) said the Libyan government was aware of the operation,” a spokesman for the group, known as the Operations Room of Libya’s Revolutionaries, told Reuters.

Zeidan is in “good health and will be treated well as a Libyan citizen,” and is being held at the Interior Ministry’s anti-crime department, an official with the department told the state news agency.

The Libyan government in a statement confirmed the premier was taken at dawn to “an unknown place for unknown reasons.”

The prime minister was taken from the Corinthia Hotel, where many diplomats and top government officials live. It is regarded as one of the most secure places in Tripoli.

The kidnapping raises the stakes in the unruly OPEC nation, where the regional factions are also seeking control over its oil wealth, which provides Libya with the vast bulk of government revenues.

Brent oil prices rose on the news.

“Everybody is watching this… We still haven’t seen any disruption to supply from Libya, so we don’t expect a spike in prices,” said Ken Hasegawa, a commodity sales manager at Newedge Japan.

A mix of striking workers, militias and political activists have blocked Libya’s oilfields and ports for more than two months, according to Oil Minister Abdelbari Arusi, resulting in over $5 billion of lost revenues.

He said on October 2 that oil exports could return to full capacity in days once the strikes ended.

Repsol and Eni, involved in western Libya, have seen output largely restored since fields reopened last month. But companies invested in eastern Libya are entering a third month of closures at several important export terminals.

Oil companies have become more wary of North Africa after an attack in January on the Amenas gas plant in neighboring Algeria, a top gas supplier to Europe and an oil-producing OPEC member.

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U.S. special forces on Saturday seized Nazih al-Ragye, known by his alias Abu Anas al-Liby – a Libyan suspected in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Liby is being held on a Navy ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

The U.S. State Department was looking into the reports of Zeidan’s kidnapping and was “in close touch with senior U.S. and Libyan officials on the ground,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in Brunei, where Kerry is on an official visit.

The Operations Room of Libya’s Revolutionaries had been affiliated with the Interior Ministry which assigned them to provide security in the capital as part of a program to reintegrate former fighters.

Guards at the Hotel said there were no shots fired or clashes during the incident.

Al-Arabiya television channel quoted Libya’s justice minister as saying that Zeidan had been “kidnapped” and showed what it said were video stills of Zeidan frowning and wearing a grey shirt undone at the collar surrounded by several men in civilian clothes pressing closely around him.

Zeidan said on Tuesday Libyans accused of crimes should be tried at home, but that the raid to capture Liby would not harm U.S. ties – trying preserve relations with a major ally without provoking a backlash from Islamist militants.

But the raid angered militant groups, including one blamed for the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in 2012, who called for revenge attacks on strategic targets including gas export pipelines, planes and ships, as well as for the kidnappings of Americans in the capital.

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Russian Embassy in Libya evacuated after attack

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Thursday evacuated all of its diplomats and their families from Libya, the day after a mob attack on the Russian Embassy, and issued a warning to its citizens against visiting the country.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said none of the embassy staff was hurt in Wednesday’s attack, which came in response to the death of a Libyan air force officer, who was allegedly killed by a Russian woman.

An armed mob broke into the embassy compound in the Libyan capital Tripoli, climbing over walls, breaking down a metal gate and shooting in the air. One of the attackers was killed by the gunfire, and four more were wounded, Libyan officials said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in Thursday’s statement that Moscow decided to evacuate the embassy after Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz visited its grounds and told the Russian ambassador that Libya was unable to protect the personnel.

Lukashevich added that all the embassy workers and their families safely crossed the border into Tunisia Thursday. He said that the Libyan authorities had promised to protect Russian assets and try to quickly restore conditions for the safe operations of the embassy.

Several senior diplomats will stay in Tunisia to maintain contacts with Libya, while the rest of the embassy workers will be flown to Moscow Friday, Lukashevich said.

He added that the Foreign Ministry recommends Russian citizens should refrain from visiting Libya.

Wednesday’s violence briefly raised fears of a repeat of last year’s deadly attack on a U.S. compound in the eastern city of Benghazi, in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed. In that instance, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack, militants fired mortars at the consulate, surrounded it and set it on fire.

A Libyan official said Wednesday’s attackers took down the Russian flag that was hanging from the balcony of one of the buildings. But they did not enter the embassy buildings, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Special Forces Officer Survives Assassination Attempt

TRIPOLI, Libya –  A Libyan official says  an officer in charge of airport security in the eastern city of Benghazi has  survived an apparent assassination attempt using a bomb placed in his car.

The security official says Captain Salem Shabaan, one of several officers in  charge of a group of special forces at the airport, was wounded in the Sunday  blast. He said that the bomb appeared to have been attached to the brakes. He  spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the  press.

Benghazi, the birthplace of the 2011 Libyan uprising-turned-civil-war, has  witnessed a surge in attacks on security officers, often involving car bombs or  drive-by shootings by unidentified, masked assailants.

Read more:  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/09/08/libyan-officer-survives-assassination-attempt-using-bomb-placed-in-his-car/#ixzz2eW3iBCOP

Bomb found under Italian embassy car in Libya.

A small bomb was found attached to a embassy vehicle in Tripoli.
A small bomb was found attached to a embassy vehicle in Tripoli.
A bomb has been found under an Italian embassy car in Libya’s capital Tripoli.

Diplomats had parked the car and gone shopping in the central Zawiyat Dahmani area when the driver noticed the device, officials said.

Police cordoned the area off and the bomb exploded, causing damage mainly to the back of the car. No-one was killed or injured.

A foreign ministry spokesman in Rome said two embassy officials had been travelling in the car.

Libyan authorities have been struggling to ensure security since former leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in late 2011.

In April, a car bomb outside the French embassy in Tripoli injured two French guards and a number of residents.

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