By Seraj Essul.
Tripoli, 25 November 2013:
A failed attempt to murder a Derna judge and an RPG attack on the gates of the port kicked off a day in Derna in which Ansar Al-Shaira units were prevented from leaving the town, apparently en route to the fighting in Benghazi.
The attack on the judge Councillor Yufu Lkraimi happened just before midnight last night near the Bab Tobruk mosque. The judge was driving when he was shot and wounded in the right shoulder. He was taken to Al-Hareesh hospital, where his condition is not thought to be life-threatening. The courts in Derna have not been working since the summer, because judges have been on strike following the murder of two of their colleagues.
At about the same time as the attack on Lkraimi, an RPG was fired from the harbour bridge at the gates to the port. There were no injuries in the blast and the harbour is still functioning, a local told the Libya Herald. The port is protected by the Army’s Omar Mukhtar Brigade.
Early today, as news of the fighting in Benghazi began to spread, an eye witness said he saw ten Ansar Al-Sharia technicals leave the organisation’s base in the former police high school, near the western entrance to the town. However it is understood that not only were streets in the town blocked with vehicles that delayed the column’s progress but, beyond the town, army units from Al-Marj and Beida had blocked the road linking Tobruk with Ajdabiya.
It is reported that fixed wing aircraft from the Gamal Abdul Nasser airbase at Tobruk and at least one helicopter from the Benina airbase in Benghazi were on patrol in the area.
The Ansar Al-Sharia column returned to its HQ. The two other radical Islamist militias in Derna, the Army of the Islamic State of Libya and the Abu Selim brigade remained neutral throughout the day’s events.
Earlier this evening there was a protest of some 50 men and women at the Sahaba mosque, demanding proper security in Derna. A general strike has been called for tomorrow.
However tonight the Army of the Islamic State of Libya had resumed it usual nighttime patrols. It was reported that it had set up a checkpoint manned by three technicals at the Harbour Roundabout.