By Libya Herald staff.
Benghazi, 22 October 2014:
There is now increasing certainty that Mohammed Al-Zahawi, the leader of Ansar Al-Sharia in Libya, has . . .[restrict]died of wounds sustained in an air strike 11 days ago.
Reliable sources have told the Libya Herald that they believe that Zahawi died in hospital in Turkey last Thursday. After he was hit, he was initially taken to Ajdabiya for two days of treatment. He was then transferred to Misrata by ambulance and finally flown to Turkey where he died. It was originally thought that Zahawi had been taken to Sirte’s Abin Sina Hospital.
Sources maintain that four days ago Zahawi’s body was flown back to Misrata where he was buried. Heavy security was reportedly in place at the Ansar leader’s funeral.
Zahawi had been the leader of Ansar Al-Sharia since its inception in April 2012, initially as a predominately humanitarian organisation. However, he was also the figurehead of the organisation as it started to employ brutal violence to achieve its aim of an Islamist state in Libya.
He was the leader of the group during the September 11 attack in 2012 on US diplomatic facilitates in Benghazi in which Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed. Ansar was heavily implicated in the incident and was subsequently condemned as a terrorist organisation by the United States.
There was no official response from Ansar when rumours of Zahawi’s death first began circulating. The group was equally tight-lipped when it was reported this June that he had been killed in fighting near Bouatni. It was left to officials at Jalaa Hospital to say that although he had been injured in the neck, he had not died.
Two days prior to sustaining the injuries that eventually killed him, Zahawi pledged in an online message that Ansar and its Islamist allies in the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council (BRSC) would soon have the whole of Benghazi under their control.
The Ansar leader was born in 1968 and was ipmrisoned in Abu Saleem under the Qaddafi regime for his Islamist views. Before that he was a drummer. [/restrict]