By Noora Ibrahim and Moutaz Ahmed.
Benghazi, 23 June 2014:
An Ansar Al-Sharia force has taken over security at Benghazi’s . . .[restrict]Jalaa hospital.
The spokesperson for the hospital told the Libya Herald that after it was left unguarded by forces from Benghazi Joint Security Room (BJSR), Ansar arrived at 4 am with three technicals and around 20 gunmen saying they were securing it themselves. The member of Benghazi Council in charge of medical facilities, Awad Gweri, confirmed the development.
The spokesperson said the Ansar members were well known to staff and were drawn from the surrounding area. She said while doctors had for the most part been neutral in regards to the move and had had little communication with the armed men, many including patients had showed dismay at their arrival.
She said the forces of BJSR’s rapid response unit had withdrawn from the hospital two days ago. She said it was not unusual for them to leave and that Ansar Al-Sharia had protected the hospital before.
The move follows clashes at Benghazi port as a result of which Libya Shield took control of it. The takeover contradicts information from Operation Dignity, which is opposed to both Ansar and Libya Shield, that their enemies’ capabilities have been greatly reduced by recent bombing.
There have been no clashes in or around the hospital as a result of the take-over.