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Brigade allied with unity government seizes intelligence building as power struggle in the capital intensifies

The Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigade, led by local commander Haitham al-Tajuri and currently affiliated with Libya’s unity government, seized a building belonging to Libya’s general intelligence service Sunday, evicting staff and detaining some individuals. 

Clashes started in the early morning and ended around noon, when the force guarding the building in the capital’s Furnaj district withdrew to neighboring area Salaheddin and the intelligence service’s main headquarters in Tajura.

Roads were blocked as a result of the fighting but by the afternoon calm had returned to Furnaj.

Several high-ranking staff members – both civilian and military – were detained by Tajuri’s brigade, a source from within the intelligence service told Al-Marsad news outlet. The service has instructed all its staff to immediately evacuate their offices, including at the sea port and Mitiga airport.

Intelligence chief Mustafa Nuh is currently in Turkey, the source told Al-Marsad, adding that Nuh’s deputy called Sunday’s attack a “coup”.

The Intelligence Authority is said to be divided between supporters of Nuh and his deputy – who are seen as Islamists from the circle of the former LIFG (Libya Islamic Fighting Group) – and others, who are backing Tajuri and the Government of National Accord.

Last week, Tajuri’s brigade took hold of the Health Ministry, also located in Furnaj, fighting off a Misratan force that had been guarding the ministry. Two weeks ago, Tajuri’s men seized the Libyan Communications Ministry in Zawiya Street.

Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigade – which is also knows as the First Battalion – is one of the largest in the capital, and its chief Tajuri is seeking to expand his influence. It already controls a number of military bases in the neighborhoods of Furnaj, Ain Zara and Bir al-Usta Milad. The brigade is currently operating under the GNA, whose Minister of the Interior Aref al-Khuja, is supposedly close to Tajuri and other brigade commanders in eastern Tripoli.

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