By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 7 February 2014:
Abdulmajid Milaiqtah, the chairman of the National Forces Alliance’s . . .[restrict]steering committee, says that there was an attempt to kill him by guards at a checkpoint on Tripoli’s Airport Road yesterday evening while he was on his way to the Libya Al-Dawliya TV station. Speaking later to the TV station by phone, he said that guards insisted on checking his vehicle and then tried to arrest him. When he resisted, as many as 55 of them started firing, he said, “wounding two of my personal staff, one of who sustained serious injuries”.
Reports of the assassination attempt have also been made on the NFA’s Facebook page.
The checkpoint guards were from the nearby headquarters of the Chief of General Staff (usually known as Arkan).
General Staff spokesman Ali Sheikhi, however, denied any such attempt. He said that Arkan guards at the checkpoint had stopped Milaiqtah and those accompanying him, admitted that the guards had overstepped their duties and there had been an altercation, but it had been sorted out. No one had shot at Milaiqtah, he insisted.
Later though, he said, five carloads of masked gunmen attacked the Chief of Staff headquarters and stole three armoured vehicles.
Claims by General Staff sources that the attackers were from Zintan and members of the Qaaqaa Brigade, led by Abdulmajid’s brother Othman, and that they arrived in four-wheel drive vehicles mounted with anti-aircraft weapons, were not confirmed by Sheikhi. He told the Libya Herald, however, that some of the attackers were recognised as members of General Staff own forces. Their identities were known and the military police were now investigating.
The NFA, which says it no longer has its own headquarters, supports an early dissolution of Congress and has rejected the “roadmap” voted by it which would see it remain in office, possibly until September 2015. There have been unconfirmed claims that some elements in the General Staff office are allied to the Muslim Brotherhood which does not want an early dissolution.
The Qaaqaa brigade is part of the Libyan army and is used, among other duties, to provide protection to some government ministers. Othman Milaiqtah was reported to have fired shots outside the Congress building the day before yesterday when he arrived unexpectedly and was told that he could not see Congress President Nuri Abu Sahmain, who was having another meeting. [/restrict]