Seven people were killed Saturday (June 21st) in an attack on the Benghazi port following a major drug bust. Eighteen others were injured.
Libyan authorities were destroying a major hashish cache seized from a cargo ship when they came under attack. Saiqa Special Forces responded to the assault and pursued the assailants. The troops are now in full control of the port.
Seven tonnes of hashish were seized in the operation, according to a security source.
“Yesterday we lost a martyr from the customs investigation unit of the port of Benghazi. His only sin was his refusal to let drugs and poisons reach our children so as not to destroy the future generations of Libya,” officer Hassan Sharif said.
He went on to accuse al-Qaeda of involvement, saying that the terrorists would pursue their goal “even if the price is the mass destruction of the youth and Libya”.
This was not the only recent drug seizure, customs official Asma Ben Amer told Magharebia. An estimated 61 tonnes of drugs were also uncovered seized in the cities of Benghazi, Tripoli and Sirte.
In another port incident, Libyan air force units operating under theOperation Dignity umbrella attacked a ship loaded with weapons.
The vessel was docked at the port of Ras al-Hilal, west of Derna.
“We have warned for more than two weeks against the use of the beach by ships that are unknown to us,” Operation Dignity spokesman Mohamed Hijazi said.
“Our information shows that these ships anchored on the beach come loaded with weapons and ammunition on their way to Benghazi via Derna,” he said.
Hijazi added, “We will not tolerate those who threaten the security and safety of the nation by pumping more weapons and financing terrorists in the region.”
After the aerial bombardment, Tobruk airbase was hit by five Grad rockets. The facility’s commander blamed militias for the attack.
“It is known to all that the ports of Derna and Ras al-Hilal are under the authority of extremists and are used for the transport of weapons and explosives, and even drugs and for human trafficking in order to gain money and power,” commented Mohamed Bennour, a 33-year-old employee from Derna. “There were even eyewitnesses during the aerial bombing. The extremist’s response came in the form of medium weapons 14.5 and 23.”
For her part, elementary teacher Saleha Mismari said that while looking at photos of the fallen soldiers, she felt “a strong desire to embrace their pictures and cry bitterly along with their mothers and wives”.
“I feel small compared to them,” she added. “They are sacrificing their lives in order for us to have peace.”
Article by Nadia Radhwan, Magharebia.
This article was originally published here.