Tripoli, 23 August:
The head of the Tarhuna Military Council has said he was temporarily captured in an operation to apprehend a . . .[restrict]group of men suspected of involvement in Sunday’s triple car bombings in Tripoli.
It has also been reported that members of Tarhuna’s Al-Awfia brigade, which briefly took control of Tripoli International Airport in June, were involved in fighting on the side of the suspects.
The clashes took place on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, and left at least one man dead.
“Information was received by the military council that some people from the Suk Ahad area were suspected of involvement in the recent bombings in Tripoli”, Al-Arabi said.
“Our forces, together with the Supereme Security Committee and the national army, surrounded the area and prepared to move in. We came under extremely heavy fire, however, and were forced to withdraw.
“As we were withdrawing, I was taken captive before being released following an intervention by elders from the region.”
Al-Arabi said that the suspects were not apprehended, but that negotiations were ongoing between the security forces and regional elders to cease further hostilities in return for a handover of the fugitives.
The involvement of the Al-Awfia brigade has not been confirmed, but is being cited by numerous sources in Tripoli and Tarhuna. The brigade is accused of having pro-Qaddafi sympathies.
When the Libya Herald inspected vehicles captured from the Al-Awfia brigade by the SSC following the airport seizure, combat fatigues with Qaddafi insignia were found in the back of one, although it is not certain whether these had been placed there or did indeed belong to the brigadesmen.