Weekly Security Update

Gulf of Sidra, Cyrenaica and Benghazi

Benghazi continues to see higher levels of reported activity when compared to the capital.  On 20 November, Faraj Al Deirsy, head of Benghazi’s Security Directorate, died from multiple gunshot wounds following an assassination attack in front of his home in the Sabri district of Benghazi.  The Libya Herald suggested that Al Deirsy’s assassination may have been connected with a directive issued to police stations in Benghazi in October, authorizing officers to use force against outlawed militias still operating in the city. Al Deirsy had also served under the Qadhafi regime. 

Al Sharq Al Awsat also reported that Al Deirsy was tasked with investigating the 11 September attack against the US consulate in city.  Al Deirsy was the18th security official to be assassinated in Benghazi this year.  On 23 November, the Libya Herald reported that Colonel Mustafa Mohammed Raqiq had been appointed to replace Al Deirsy as the head of Benghazi’s National Security Directorate.  Raqiq, an early defector from the Qadhafi regime, previously served as head of the Hadaeq police station.

A video posted on a social media site on 21 November claimed to show an alleged Muslim Brotherhood sheikh, Mohammed Al Jihani addressing a crowd in one of Benghazi’s squares, telling them not to join the National Army or the police.  According to the report, Al Jihani stated that the army and police were in place to protect the government and not the people and that rebels should unite to impose Sharia law.  Al Jihani also claimed that the National Assembly Speaker, Mohammed Magarief is secular and will destroy Libya’s mosques and pronounced Magarief and Prime Minister Ali Zidan as infidels.

Press Solidarity reported that an armed group opened fire on the night of 22 November on a police station in the Abu Atni area of Benghazi.  According to the report, the police officers inside the station returned fire, there were no reported injuries.

The Libya Herald reported that demonstrators gathered in front of Benghazi’s Tibesti Hotel after Friday prayers on 23 November, to protest against National Assembly Speaker Mohammed Magarief’s recent announcement of a $200 million development package to Tunisia.  According to the report, the demonstrators considered the package a waste of public money and called into question Magarief’s authority to make such a decision in the first place.  Civilians in Tobruk were also reported to have protested over the issue and specifically the lack of salaries being paid in the city.

Press Solidarity reported that the former High Security Committee (HSC) deputy for Sirte, Omar Al Sid, and an armed group stormed the HSC building in Sirte on 22 November and expelled its employees.  Subsequent clashes were reported between Al Sidi’s group and the HSC head for Sirte, Abdul Majid Bayt Al Mal. Press Solidarity cited sources who had reported that that Al Sid claimed that the Sirte Military Council had given him permission to use the building, and that Al Mal is wanted for investigation.

Press Solidarity reported that skirmishes broke out in the south-eastern town of Al Kufra on 26 November, near the town’s administrative offices.  According to the report, two Tabu tribesmen were reported to have been killed. The National Army was later reported to have deployed to the area to take control of the situation. The latest clashes followed a ceasefire in the area at the beginning of August.  Since that ceasefire a total of six deaths have been reported, including the latest killings against Tabu tribesmen.

On 26 November, Sheikh Salim Derby, the leader of the Martyrs of Abu Salim Brigade in Derna, survived an assassination attempt after a device exploded on his vehicle. Derby was a member of the Libyan Fighting Group and his brigade recently handed over its weapons to the national army.

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