By Moutaz Ahmed.
Benghazi, 3 October 2014:
The clashes around Benina Airport yesterday, following a double suicide bombing, were some . . .[restrict]of the worst seen in Benghazi in over two years of brutal violence in the city.
The residential district of Buatni, on the approach to Benina, has become a flashpoint for the most intense fighting in Benghazi. From Buatni Ansar Al-Sharia and its allies have encroached ever closer on the airport.
The neighbourhood is now largely abandoned and informed sources have told the Libya Herald that Buatni was now well under the control of Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council (BRSC).
Speaking on condition of anonymity, they claimed that among the dead were bodies of men apparently executed with a single gunshot to the head. The Red Crescent has been seen to be arriving regularly to collect these corpses.
It is being claimed that for the most part the bodies have been left for some time and are partially decomposed. They were being found in abandoned or ruined buildings, where militiamen can also reportedly scavenging for scrap-metal amongst the debris.
Hospitals have affirmed that a regular trickle of corpses is being brought in by the Red Crescent from areas of Benghazi under total Islamist control. Three days ago two unidentified bodies were collected from Hawari. They were taken to Benghazi Medical Centre (BMC) for forensic identification.
Today there have been unconfirmed reports from inside Buatni of low-level skirmishes may be taking place between Ansar Al-Sharia and the Brega Martyr’s Brigade under the command of its injured leader Mohamed Al-Araibi, although the two groups are technically allied.
Until the end of Ramadan, Buatni had been a Saiqa Special Forces stronghold and the location of its headquarters.
However over weeks of heavy fighting, two months ago Ansar Al-Sharia and its allies were able to push Saiqa out of the area and seize large quantities of ammunition and weapons.
In the aftermath of these attacks the Libyan Red Crescent removed the bodies of 35 members of Saiqa Special Forces from the abandoned headquarters.
Benina Airport and a nearby air defence base are the last positions held by Saiqa and Operation Dignity near to Benghazi.