By Adam Ali.
Benghazi, 10 October 2014:
Mohammed Al-Zahawi, the commander of Ansar Al-Sharia in Benghazi, has said in . . .[restrict]an online message that Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council (BRSC) is working to take control of the while city and predicts that it will soon be completely under its control.
Zahawi’s Ansar Al-Sharia brigade is the largest and most active force in the Islamist BRSC coalition. The video statement posted on YouTube and Facebook is the first time that Zahawi has spoken for the council as a whole rather than his own brigade.
“Benina is encircled from all sides and we are working to deprive the enemy of all ammunition and other supplies,” the Islamist leader said.
Over the last week, Benina Airport, to the east of Benghazi, has been rocked by some of the most intense fighting seen in the city since 2011. Last Thursday, a double suicide bombing was carried out on Benina, one of the last positions held by Operation Dignity near the city, and followed by days of intense clashes.
While Ansar Al-Sharia and its allies did not directly claim responsibility for the bombing, they released a statement showing strong support for the suicide attack.
Referring to BRSC as “the true revolutionaries”, Zahawi said Khalifa Hafter, the leader of Operation Dignity, was a “traitor and a liar” and later called him “a puppet”.
Zahawi added the pro-government forces had spread rumours and propaganda and had lured Libyans into fighting against the “mujahedin”. He said his forces were making significant progress despite heavy losses.
On Wednesday the body of Saleem Nabous, a prominent member of the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council was received at the BMC. An Islamist fighter, Nabous was the commander of a lesser known brigade, the Zintan Martyrs’ Brigade.
The Ansar Commander said it was his desire to see stability in Benghazi but that the longer that stability took to achieve the more deaths there would be.