The mufti’s office published a statement calling on the “Libyan people who want to protect their religion and land” to mobilise in “armed resistance” against the “Russian invasion of Libya’s towns”.
The statement added that Russians have “begun to penetrate cities, airports and oil fields, in order to gradually take control of Libyan lands and plunder its wealth”.
“Every able Muslim must fight them, wherever they are, and wherever [the Russians] are,” it said, adding that any trade or other dealings with them, including appeasement, was forbidden.
The statement comes after it was claimed that 3,000 Russian mercenaries are among forces loyal to rival Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, have been mobilised to retake the key city of Sirte.
Many of the Russian mercenaries are thought to be working for the shady private military contractor, the Wagner Group, which is reportedly close to Moscow’s government.
Russia has been instrumental in aiding Haftar’s so-called Libyan National Army, which has been accused of war crimes, including laying internationally banned anti-personnel landmines when retreating from Tripoli’s outskirts in May.