By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 18 May 2014:
Seven GNC members were detained and later released in today’s assault on its buildings. Earlier . . .[restrict]reports that Congress President Nuri Abu Sahmain was one of them have, however, since been denied.
A source close to the GNC has told the Libya Herald that he believes today’s attack on it was mounted by Zintani brigades. He said they had stormed Congress’s hospitality facilities across the road from the main building, and arrested Abu Samain and the other members, mainly Islamists. These, he said, had stayed behind after today’s sitting which ended at around 12.30.
Other reports claimed the Zintanis were the Qaaqaa Brigade.
Smoke can now be seen billowing from the site of the attack.
For his part, Mohammed Al-Hijazi, the spokesperson for General Khalifa Hafter’s forces, which call themselves the national army, say that they were responsible for the attack and “arrests”.
“The national army forces went to the GNC building to put and end to it,” he said, speaking on Libya Al-Ahrar TV late this afternoon. In the action, “the national army” had engaged in fighting with “extremist and civil militias” who were guarding Congress.
“This GNC has been protecting the terrorist groups in Libya and perpetuating its problems. The situation we come to today is the direct result of the GNC. “The purpose in storming the expired GNC is to arrest the people who prolonged our misery, and created severe problems for us,” he declared.
“For us, as the national army, it was necessary to make this move and end this for once and for ever.” Hijazi added: “Benghazi is now cautiously calm, we will move according to orders from the General Khalifa Hafter.” The two claims, that of the Hiftar forces and Zintani forces being involved, are not necessarily contradictory. Hifter has been in close contact with Zintani forces, specifically the Qaaqaa Brigade.
On Friday, there were shooting in and around the Abu Sleem district after Qaaqaa units based on the Airport Road, moved into the district, apparently in support of the action taken by Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi.
Three months ago, Qaaqaa and Sawaq Briugdae, threatened to arrest members of Congress if they did not resign and it close down. [/restrict]