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Jillian C. York;

Tripoli gunmen seize Tunisians after commander is arrested in Tunis

Gunmen in Tripoli seized 172 Tunisians working in the city after a militia commander was arrested and detained by the police in Tunis.

Walid Al-Ghleib, one of the leaders of the Medfaiyah Wal-Sewarigh (“Artillery and Missiles”) Brigade, is now reported to have been released by the Tunisians and his current whereabouts unknown. For their part, the gunmen are said to have then freed the Tunisians, abducted on Saturday and Sunday, although Tunisian officials say they are still being held. They say that the Tunisian Consul in Tripoli is involved in negotiations to secure their release.

Walid Al-Ghleib and his brigade are believed to be from Misrata, although currently based in Tripoli. He, apparently, crossed the border into Tunisia on Friday or Saturday. A senior Libya Dawn official in Tripoli accused Zintanis of informing the Tunisians who he was.

Initially it was reported that the Tunisians had been grabbed because Misrata’s hardline political figure Saleh Badi had been arrested at Tunis Airport as he was leaving on a plane for Europe, but that turned out to be a false assumption.

Meanwhile in a separate incident in the Libya capital, a Tunisian, said to be a fighter with the Islamic State (IS), is reported to have blown himself up yesterday in the east Tripoli suburb of Tajoura when cornered following a police chase. One of two other Tunisians with him surrendered and the third escaped.

According to pro-Libya Dawn media, all three had been tracked down as a result of intelligence reports following their crossing of the border from Tunisia.

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