By Nihal Zaroug.
Tripoli, 10 September:
Another senior military official who served in the Qaddafi regime has been murdered in Benghazi. Colonel Badr Khamis Al-Obedi was assassinated by unknown gunmen today, Monday, as he left the city’s Saida Aisha mosque after prayers.
A commander at the air defense base in Benghazi, Obeidi was shot several times in the chest and head from a semi-automatic rifle in a “drive-by” attack. He was immediately taken to the intensive care unit at Hawari hospital but died a few hours later.
Witnesses say that there were three people in the car from which the shots came, a white Hyundai Elantra.
This is at least the 14th assassination so far this year of current and former military officers. Earlier last month, Brigadier-General Mohammed Al-Fitouri was gunned down as he too left afternoon prayers in Benghazi.
It is the 15th if the death of Colonel Juma Al-Kadiki earlier this month is included. He died instantly when explosives went off in his car. However, it is thought that it may have been an accident.
A drive-by shooting of the victim as he leaves a mosque after prayers, seems to have become the killers’ prime method of operation.
Staff at the Benghazi air base have condemned the killing of Al-Obeidi according to Colonel Mohamed Al-Anaizi from the air defense’s office of information and documentation. They said that members of the military would continue to defending Libya despite attempts to terrorise and kill them.
An official statement would be released shortly said Anaizi.
In a recent interview, outgoing Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Kib blamed the recent wave of assassinations on Qaddafi loyalists. However it has been alleged that extremists are to blame for the killings and that they are working on a ‘hit list’ of former officers and officials from the old regime.
The Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani last month issued a fatwa condemning the assassinations as “heinous crimes”, saying their was no justification for such attacks “regardless of motive”.
With input by Maha Ellawati in Benghazi.