By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 25 August:
Another mosque has . . .[restrict]been vandalised by Salafists. The Sidi Sha’ab Mosque opposite the Mahari Radisson Blu hotel overlooking Tripoli harbour was attacked around dawn this morning, Saturday. It appears that heavy equipment was brought in to smash the shrine of Sidi Sha’ab which is housed in the mosque, an important Sufi teaching centre.
There are reports also that a Sufi mosque in Misrata was also attacked this morning.
The scene later this morning at the Sidi Sha’ab mosque was startling. There were lots of police, SSC and other officials blocking the road in front while a massive digger was smashing the building. Apparently, this was said to be preventive — to stop it from being attacked further.
This is not the first attack on the mosque. An attempt earlier this year to destroy the shrine resulted in a demonstration outside the Mahari hotel and security forces being brought in to protect the tomb.
On Thursday night, the shrine of Sidi Abdul-Salam Al-Asmar Al-Fituri in Zliten was also destroyed by Salafists.
Umar Khan writes from Zliten
The (Zliten) mosque has been badly damaged. The dome in the main square was also destroyed.
The conflict between Zlitenis and the Awlad Al-Shaikh tribe, who are said to be descendants of Abdul-Salam Al-Asmar, started at Eid but escalated on Thursday. That is when heavy fighting started. The whole area from the beginning of Zliten (on the Tripoli side) up to the shrine is bullet ridden — 14.5mm and above. There were tank shells in the main square.
There was an attempt to exhume the body but those involved did not found anything till four metres down.
The overnight explosions were so loud that it brought back memories of NATO bombing. Two mortars fell in Wadi Qaam, around 600 meters west of where I was camping. A petrol station was destroyed in the same area.
There were tanks stationed on the checkpoints all the way from Zliten to Tripoli.