Libya seizes tanks from pro-Gaddafi militia
More than 100 tanks seized from militia loyal to Libya's ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi amid fresh deadly tribal clashes.
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2012 02:45
An investigation has been launched into bomb attacks earlier this week which killed two people [Reuters]

More than 100 tanks have been seized from a militia loyal to Libya's ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi as authorities hunted the perpetrators of a double car bombing, the interior ministry has said.

A ministry official said on Thursday that an investigation into the attacks on Sunday helped in detecting the militia which posed as "revolutionaries" and was housed in barracks in Souk al-Ahad near Tarhuna, 60km southeast of Tripoli.

"More than 100 tanks and 26 missile launchers were seized" from the militia, Abdelmonem al-Hur, spokesman for the interior ministry's High Security Committee, told a news conference.

The car bombs killed two people and wounded four others in Tripoli in the dawn attacks which took place as Muslims prepared to attend prayers on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holidays.

The spokesman said that one person was killed and eight others were wounded as security forces arrested the militia's leader, Khaled Ibrahim Krid, in an operation on Wednesday.

Thirteen people were also arrested in the operation, while three others escaped.

The interior ministry had on Wednesday reported clashes between Tarhuna members of the security services and suspects allegedly involved in Sunday's blasts.

The pro-Gaddafi militia known as Katibat al-Awfiya (Brigade of the Faithful) was known internally as the "Brigade of Martyr Muammar Gaddafi," who was killed last October, according to Hor.

"We believed the Katibat defended Libya and the revolution, but it turned out to be contrary," he said.

The same militia stormed Tripoli airport in early June blocking air traffic for several hours in protest at the "kidnapping" of one of their leaders, before authorities dislodged them and regained control of the facility.

Hor acknowledged that Libya's security forces had been infiltrated by supporters of the former regime and said a committee has been formed to investigate.

On Thursday, Libya's national assembly met in a closed session to discuss insecurity across the country. Interior minister Fawzi Abdelali reportedly came in for heavy criticism for "lax" security.

The ministry said on Monday that Libyan authorities had arrested the key suspect behind the deadly car bombings and three of his accomplices, identifying them as Gaddafi loyalists.

"The key suspect was arrested and admitted that he was directly responsible along with four other people," Deputy Interior Minister Omar al-Kadhrawi told reporters. Police were hunting for a fifth suspect.

Kadhrawi said the key suspect had testified that he orchestrated the bombings to avenge the death of his brother in a NATO raid during last year's revolt which toppled Gaddafi's regime.

Tribal clashes

Meanwhile, at least three people were killed and eight were wounded in a tribal clash near the Libyan town of Zlitan on Thursday, an official source said, testing transitional efforts to improve security.

Heavy weaponry was used in the violence, including 14 mm anti-aircraft canons, the source said.

The clash was sparked by a dispute between two families from the al-Haly and al-Fawatra tribes. The source could not say what the dispute was about.

An army deployment managed to impose a truce between the two warring tribes. The source had initially said at least 12 people were killed before he corrected the death toll.

"Security forces have not been sent in immediately (to intervene). It's not wise when things are this raw ... The army's deployment has allowed us to take first hand account of casualties in this tribal clash," the source added.


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