By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 23 March 2015:
A Tarhouna family were reported murdered today and their home set ablaze in an apparent . . .[restrict]act of revenge by a suspected group of Libya Dawn supporters for this morning’s air strike in the town by the Libyan National Army (LNA).
The home of Abu-Ajilah Habshi was attacked and four, possibly as many as eight, members of his family murdered, including his son Azam and his brother. The attackers are said to have cut of the hands of his daughter Manal who then died as a result. His wife was badly beaten. It is not known if she survived.
Habshi, who came out in support of the revolution at the very beginning, was commander of the Awfeya brigade which he formed in Benghazi after fleeing from Tarhouna, at the time a strong centre of support for the Qaddafi regime. He was kidnapped on 1 July 2012 on Tripoli’s Airport Road. It was thought at the time that he had been seized by former Qaddafi supporters. There have since been allegations that he was taken to the prison at Mitiga airbase but these have not been substantiated. He is now assumed to be dead.
The town’s Marghani family, led by Salah Marghani, are now being accused of the Habshi massacre. Salah is said to now be a hardline Islamist although before and during the revolution the family were reported as being firm supporters of the Qaddafi regime. They switched sides and then came out in favour of Libya Dawn, allegedly because their links with local religious leaders.
The Marghani were reportedly involved in murderous clashes before. In November last year they were said to have attacked another local family, the Nahajis, whom the Marghani accused of opposing Libya Dawn.
In today’s attack, the Habshi was supposedly accused of giving coordinates to the LNA for the airstrike.
In the event, the airstrike appears to have been a failure, although the commander of the Libyan Air Force Saqr Geroushi, announced a militants’ camp in the town ahd been hit. The LNA’s spokesman, Colonel Ahmed Masmari was more specific. “LNA also carried out an airstrike on the Tabeeb Company in Tarhouna this morning. The company [compound] is now used as ammunition store and training base for Libya Dawn,” he stated. US Ambassador Deborah Jones also initially tweeted that eight Tawerghans had died in it. She later said the figures had been based on reports from sources.
According to Tarhouna Municipal Council spokesman Mohamed Sayed Tarhouni, however, the area hit was an open space near a camp for displaced Tawerghans and that there were no casualties. Military officials claimed that anti-aircraft fire had forced the plane to change course. Foreign journalists visiting the site confirmed that there were no casualties.
The Beida-based Libyan government has condemned the Habshi killings as did Ambassador Jones. [/restrict]