By Noora Ibrahim.
Benghazi, 20 September 2014:
In an unprecedented wave of killings across Benghazi assassins have slain ten of . . .[restrict]the 13 individuals they targeted in the past 24 hours.
It was the worst day of violence in the city since the 2011 revolution in what appears to have been an orchestrated campaign by extremists to intimidate Benghazi’s inhabitants.
As well as the murder of the popular youth activist and blogger Tawfiq Bensaud and his friend Sami Kwafi, which has sent reverberations across the country, a further eight people were killed in Benghazi. The use of assassinations as a weapon against activists, journalists and particularly security officials has been renewed with a vengeance following a relative lull in the city in recent months.
Five members of the military and security apparatus were killed in Benghazi yesterday. Military intelligence officer Tawfiq Al-Aguri was shot dead in the city’s Hay Salem district. He was murdered as he returned to Benghazi from Tokra. He was 40 years old. Medical sources said was rushed to Jalaa hospital before being transferred to BMC, but did not survive his wounds.
Army Colonel Fathi el-Misallati was shot and killed by unknown assailants in the city’s Gwarsha district. The area is a well-known Ansar Al-Sharia stronghold and has been subjected to regular airstrikes by Operation Dignity since May.
Air Force Colonel Mohamed Al-Meshiti was also murdered in the in the surge of violence as well as Hussam Al-Arafi, a member of Benghazi Security Directorate. He was shot in the Kuwaifiya area. Another officer, colonel Fathi Absul Salem, was killed in the Al-Kish district.
Besides Tawfiq Bensaud and Sami Kwafi, three other civilians were assassinated. None appear to have had any ties to Operation Dignity or the military. Hussein Al-Obeidi and Ahmed Al-Hassuni, were killed at roughly the same time yesterday although in separate attacks, sources at BMC, where their bodies were taken, told the Libya Herald. Khalifa Gassil appears to have been killed at a bogus checkpoint.
At 10 am yesterday, in the first of the string of assassination attempts, unknown gunmen critically wounded 50-year-old former army colonel, Fathia Al-Sharif Al-Shafi. She has sustained injuries to her face and has one bullet wound in her hand, sources at Benghazi Medical Centre (BMC), where she is receiving treatment, told this newspaper. Shafi was driving in Benghazi’s Hadiq area at the time of the attack.
Salafist Imam Sheikh Abdul Salem Al-Nirmari has also been receiving treatment at BMC and is in a critical condition following an attempt on his life yesterday. Salafists have been targeted in a series of assassinations in Benghazi. In July three Salafists were killed in the city in three days because of their support for Operation Dignity.
Wasim Abu Daboos, a journalist and Tawfiq Al-Arafi, a security intelligence officer and resident in Hay Salem were also targeted in the attacks but escaped unscathed.
Assasinations have become increasingly common in Benghazi, though no days has been as bloody as yesterday. In the past, as in February, large numbers of killings provoked protest and public outrage.