By Rida Agheel.
Tripoli, 13 July:
Three people were killed in a shootout in central Tripoli on Tuesday between forces from the Supreme . . .[restrict]Security Committee (SSC) and a gang of alleged drugs dealers who had kidnapped a 12-year-old boy for ransom. The dead included a member of the SSC.
The gang, said to be an entire family of drug dealers plus an Algerian man, had reportedly demanded LD 75,000 to free the boy.
The SSC were informed of the kidnapping, although according to Sheikh Lutfi Milad, one of the security members wounded in the firefight, the boy’s father was warned that if he told anyone, they would kill the child.
The SSC then set up plans to capture the gang. They managed to catch one of the members who was found in possession of a hand grenade. He revealed that that the boy was being kept in an apartment only 50 metres from the main offices of the Ministry of Interior, which runs the SSC.
On Tuesday morning, the building, located in Tripoli’s Dahra area, was surrounded by police and other security forces who called on the gang to surrender. The latter instead opened fire using a number of different weapons. Fire was returned and shooting continued for almost four hours.
At the height of the gun battle, as many as 200 members of the SSC as well as other security forces were involved.
According to Anwar Mishri, another injured member of the SSC, the gang members’ sister joined in the fighting, reportedly using a Khalashnikov, while the mother “helped to fill their guns with ammunition”.
It was reported that the Algerian was shot dead in the battle as was an other member of the gang as well as a member of the security force, Abdul-Rauf Wali. Four other SSC members were injured.
Two of the gang members managed to escape. [/restrict]