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US Forces Capture Man in Libya Allegedly Connected to Benghazi Attack

ISIS IN ACTION

An attack on the ‘Tisan’ checkpoint 60km south of Ajdabiya on 25 October killed at least 3 Libyan National Army (LNA) fighters and left another two injured. The ISIS Amaq news agency released a statement taking responsibility for the attack. Survivors report that the assailants arrived in 7 vehicles and set the entire checkpoint on fire after seizing the LNA’s firearms.

Local sources report that on 29 October, ISIS fighters established a temporary checkpoint on the coastal highway 20km east of Sirte. The area in question is considered to be under the control of al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) forces aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA). Meanwhile, tensions in Sirte continue to escalate as the city has suffered from major damage to public utilities, infrastructure, and a lack of basic foodstuffs. Heavy rainfall last week led to sewage overflow and flooding throughout the city adding to local frustration and anger.

WESTERN RESPONSE

Late on 29 October, US Special Operations forces captured Mustafa al-Imam in Misrata, Libya. Imam was targeted because of his alleged connection to the 11 September 2012 attack on the US Special Mission in Benghazi. Reuters reported that officials from Libyan National Army (LNA) in eastern Libya have said Imam is middle-aged Syrian national who frequented the same al-Awza‘i mosque as Ahmed Abu Khatallah. Khatallah is currently on trial in the US for his role in the Benghazi attack; he has pleaded not guilty to all 18 of the charges against him.

Apparently, once in custody, Imam was flown to a US navy vessel and will be transported to the US where he will face federal prosecution. Many details of the incident remain unknown but it is reported that no US forces were injured in the operation.

On 30 October, President Donald Trump stated that he ordered the rendition with the support of the Libyan government, and pledged that the US would continue to catch and prosecute those behind the attacks in Benghazi. He added that “The United States will continue to support our Libyan partners to ensure that ISIS and other terrorist groups do not use Libya as a safe haven for attacks against United States citizens or interests, Libyans, and others.”

On 30 October, a ‘Libyan-Libyan’ meeting of military officers from the LNA and Misrata was facilitated in Cairo facilitated by the Egyptian Chief of Staff as part of the talks to reunify the Libyan army. This is the third round of these talks over the last year.

Libya-Analysis is the most read independent English-language blog on Libyan affairs. It is run by Jason Pack, founder of EyeOnISISinLibya.com and researcher of World History at Cambridge University

This article was republished with explicit permission from the author.