On the frontlines of southern Tripoli, as the fighting intensified last weekend and yesterday, the war witnessed terrorists from the Shura Council of Mujahideen in Derna (SCMD) and the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries (SCBR), as well as the remnants of Jadhran forces that fled from various areas in Cyrenaica, joining the war against the LNA and supporting the GNA-backed forces. In this Special Report Al Marsad details the profiles of six of these terrorists.
Libyan security services have identified militant individuals and groups, and monitored their participation in the fighting against the Libyan National Army (LNA). Some of these individuals have been either killed or injured recently by the LNA. Most of these combatants are on the wanted lists of the security and judiciary departments in their home towns. Here is a profile of some of these terrorists.
The First Jihadist: Ali Ayad Al-Hashemi
Ali Ayad al-Hashemi, member of the SCBR is on the Military Prosecution list of wanted extremists and criminals. Al-Hashemi was injured in clashes Saturday against the LNA in Tripoli. He is the son of a leading figure in the Ansar-al-Sharia organization who was killed in 2017 in Ganfouda, west of Benghazi.
His father was last seen in a video footage disseminated by the Ansar-al-Sharia organization in Benghazi. The video had a title quoted of a verse from the Holy Quran: “Whether lightly or heavily, march on and fight” (Surah Al-Tawba: 41).
Security agencies recognized him through his voice and some of the features that appeared in the footage, in addition to confessions taken from a number of detainees. The video was posted by Al-Raya Media, the information arm of Ansar al-Sharia. Al-Hashemi worked as a vehicles’ maintenance mechanic who had additional skills such as preparing landmines and booby traps. He was in-charge of the organization’s workshop.
A photo of the father was found in a Benghazi downtown neighborhood days before he was killed. The photo showed him cooking seafood for his comrades during the period of the LNA siege of extremists in the neighborhoods of downtown Benghazi. The writing on the wall behind him showed an acronym of one of the slogans of the Islamic State organization that referred to the belief that the “Islamic State” was eternal.
Ali participated with his father in the battles against the LNA in the Benghazi district of al-Sabri and in other downtown neighborhoods before fleeing after the fighting intensified and the imposition of security cordons were tightened around the city of Benghazi—particularly on the coastal highway leading to Misrata. Last week, Ali posted a photo on Facebook showing him in front of an armored vehicle belonging to the Misratan 315th Infantry Brigade of the Government of National Accord (GNA). The photo showed he sustained a thigh injury.
The Second Jihadist: Ahmed al-Ma’addani (a.k.a. Etweel)
Facebook accounts, close to the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries (SCBR) eulogized Ahmed al-Ma’addani (a.k.a. Etweel), who was killed in the Tripoli battles. Al-Ma’addani was also identified as a member of the Ansar al-Sharia when the notorious organization was active in Benghazi before its defeat.
According to information received from the Military Prosecutor’s Bureau in Benghazi, al-Ma’addani was a resident of Ras Obaida neighborhood in the city of Benghazi and has been involved in battles against the LNA since 2013 before fleeing the coastal eastern city on a dredge.
His neighbors in Benghazi referred to his involvement, as a member of the group of Fawzi Al-Rabeeh of the Ansar al-Sharia, in assassinations executed by the organization in the Benghazi district of Ras Obaida, most notably the assassination of Sami al-Kawafi and Tawfiq Ben Saud in 2014.
Fawzi Al-Rabeeh was one of the participants in the attacks on Thunderbolt Forces patrols even before Operation Dignity was launched. Fawzi was seen in a video footage, recorded before he was killed, threatening young men supporting the LNA in his neighborhood, of displacement, slaughter, and dismemberment.
It should be noted here that Adel Al-Rabeeh, the brother of the killed Fawzi and Ramadan, appeared last week in the battle of Tripoli International Airport Road where three elements of the LNA support force from Zintan were lost.
The Third Jihadist: Mohamed al-Shaikhy
Mohamed al-Shaikhy is the third extremist element who was also eulogized in obituaries posted on Facebook accounts close to the SCBR as well as Bashir Abdulrahman al-Swehli, son of the former President of the High Council of the State. Al-Shaikhy was a member of the notorious Strangers Unit of the Ansar-al-Sharia organization.
As for his former domicile, information provided by the Military Prosecutor’s Bureau indicates that he was a resident of al-Guwarsha quarter. He took part in the fighting against the LNA in Benghazi since 2014, before fleeing the city to Misrata in late 2016 and joining the so-called Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB).
The brother of Mohamed al-Shaikhy, Islam al-Shaikhy, was also a member of the “Strangers Unit” of the Ansar-al-Sharia organization. Islam al-Shaikhy was killed in the 2016 clashes in the Hawary district of Benghazi. Both brothers face charges of forcibly displacing their neighbors, who supported the LNA and police, from their houses.
Al-Marsad obtained a copy of al-Shaikhy’s Libyan passport, which was found in Sabratha two years ago during the war that took place there between the anti-terrorism force and the various extremist organizations in the city, which ended with the escape of most of them towards Zawiya and Misrata, including a group who fled from Benghazi.
The Fourth Jihadist: Massoud Khamis Masoud al-Zinbi
Massoud Khamis Masoud al-Zinbi, who fled from Cyrenaica, was injured last week among the fighters of the Government of National Accord in Ain Zara, one of the frontlines to the south of the Libyan capital. Al-Zinbi was born in 1996 and he is originally from Bishr area, west of Ajdabiya.
Massoud al-Zinbi was previously a member of a group associated with the Oil Installations Guard (OIG) led by Jadhran, the locally and internationally sanctioned fugitive and former commander of the OIG. A photograph of al-Zinbi carrying his weapon was found in the Tripoli neighborhood of Ain Zara fighting in the ranks of the GNA forces before he was wounded.
Al-Zinbi is accused by the Military Prosecutor and Ajdabiya’s judiciary of “collaborating with terrorist groups such as the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) and assaulting the oil terminals and areas of eastern Ajdabiya during the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 consecutively; one of those is referred to as the massacre of Sultan and Jlidayah when the BDB killed a number of residents on the pretext of their cooperation with the LNA.
On his Facebook account, he posted photos previously found in the galleries of mobile phones of some of the detainees who were proved to be involved in the attacks which repeatedly damaged oil facilities, for which Jadhran was included in the US and international sanctions.
After sustaining wounds in the battle of Tripoli, Al-Zinbi posted a picture on Sunday on his Facebook account. After receiving medical treatment, Al-Zinbi reappeared again in a photo with other gunmen in a military vehicle.
The Fifth Jihadist: Omar Mohammed al-Asifir (a.k.a. Amouri)
Omar Mohammed al-Asifir (a.k.a. Amouri), was born in Zliten in 1996. He was a leading commander in the so-called Free Men of Zliten Brigade affiliated with the Government of National Accord (GNA). He was killed during clashes with the armed forces in Ain Zara.
Al-Asifir was slightly wounded in an air strike targeting their positions in the Spring Valley on 16 April, before he was killed a month later. He had previously fought against the LNA in the city of Benghazi with Wissam bin Hamid of the SCBR.
Shortly before he was killed, Al-Asifir posted a selfie on his Facebook account accompanied by the military leaders of the SCBR, Wissam Ben Hamid and Abu-Khattab al-Libi. The photo was taken in 2016 before the killing of the latter in the battles of Ganfouda.
Al-Asifir was also born in the city of Zliten in 1993. He was also a member of the so-called National Guard under the leadership of Khaled al-Sharif. He was killed in the Ain Zara area on September 2, 2018 during bloody confrontations with the Special Deterrence Force (SDF).
Da’adoush, a friend of al-Asifir, participated in the attack with the 33rd Infantry Battalion led by Bashir Khalafallah (a.k.a. Al-Baqarah) in January 2018 on a prison run by the SDF at Mitiga airport. On his Facebook page he described the SDF Commander Abdul Raouf Kara as a Madkhali Salafist. Da’adoush viewed the incarcerated terrorists as freedom fighters who were unfairly imprisoned, abused, and humiliated by the SDF.
Furthermore, Da’adoush strongly supported the leaders of the SCBR, headed by the extremist takfirists Wissam bin Hamid, Jalal Makhzoum and Mohammed al-Zahawi, the Emir of Ansar al-Sharia who were all, as he viewed it, “a pain in the neck of the Yankees, the enemies of Islam”.
The Sixth Jihadist: Anas Attiya Bourashed
Anas Attiya Bourashed was killed on Saturday in Ain Zara clashes according to social media accounts as well as Libya Panorama TV channel whose anchor Nabil al-Sukkani confirmed the news of his death as did other Facebook accounts of militias loyal to the forces of the GNA.
Anas haied from Derna and lived in the Bab Tobruk neighborhood before fleeing the city. In 2012, he joined the extremist Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade, led by Salem Al-Derbi, who was killed in 2016 by a militant organization in an ideological dispute and conflict of interests and influence between his al-Qaeda affiliated organization and the Islamic State.
In December 2014, the Ansar al-Sharia organization joined the Martyrs of Abu Salim and the Army of Islam under an umbrella called the Shura Council of Mujahedeen in Derna (SCMD). Later, the Army of Islam militia broke up and announced allegiance to the Islamic State faction. Anas was part of the group that declared their pledge of allegiance.
It is noteworthy that an ideological war broke out in June 2015 between the Islamic State and the SCMD. During that period Anas was incarcerated in an SCMD prison and was later released after he relinquished his allegiance to the Emir of the Islamic State, and his membership in the SCMD was approved as was that of dozens of other fighters. In 2018, he fled the city to Misrata.
Following the military operations of the armed forces in Tripoli, Anas who was killed Saturday morning in the clashes of Ain Zara, fought with Al-Somoud Battalion led by Salah Badi according to his own posts on his Facebook account. He was also praised in other accounts which eulogized him and others who joined the fleeing elements of the SCBR and were killed in the battlefield. Posts on his own page confirm his participation in the Yarmouk Camp fighting where Badi forces were also present.
The GNA and its Dependence on Militant Terrorists
This is not the first time that the battlefield in Tripoli has witnessed the involvement of radical militants among the forces of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). These extremists do not recognize any form of democracy or civility as defined by the norms of international community and even political bodies such as the European Union.
Forces loyal to the GNA have failed to effectively distance themselves from terrorist groups at a time when they continue to reiterate false allegations against Haftar and the LNA accusing them of being responsible for igniting terrorism. The fact that these elements were mobilized from areas under the control of the GNA such as Misrata, Zawiya, Khamis, Msallata and other cities—undermines the credibility of their allegations against the LNA.
The UN and the international community must investigated and call to question the mandate they have given to the GNA as it continues to cooperate with forces of terrorism and extremism in Libya.