By Adam Ali.
Benghazi, 23 March 2015:
Benghazi’s militant leader Mohamed Al-Araibi, more commonly known as Bouka, has been killed in fighting today . . .[restrict]in the city’s Gwarsha district. The death was announced by Al-Nabaa TV, seen as sympathetic to the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council, of which Bouka’s Brega Martyr’s Brigade was a part. Nuri Abu Sahmain, the president of the continuing General National Congress is reported to have expressed his condolences at the fighter’s demise.
A former mechanic, Bouka was a controversial character and as a result of his bizarre rants on television was considered by some to be mentally unstable.
Last September, there were reports that he had been badly wounded in an Operation Dignity airstrike against his home district of Sidi Khalifa. At the time, a source close to his family told the Libya Herald that he had been hit by shrapnel in the leg during a bombing raid. The next month the home was attacked and burned by Operation Dignity forces following which Bouka released a video in which he swore revenge saying that he would destroy Genral Khalifa Hafter and his forces.
He was then erroneously reported to have been captured during fighting at Benghazi University’s campus at Garyounis.
Noted for his disheveled looks, Bouka hit the headlines a year ago when he led an attack on the General National Congress because it had not elected his preferred candidate as prime minister – Omar Al-Hassi, now the continuing GNC’s head of government. At the time, it instead elected Ahmed Maetig although that election was then ruled illegal by the Supreme Court on the grounds that Congress had not followed due process.
Bouka later claimed that he had not intended to attack Congress but that there had been an armed altercation with Congress guards who did not want to let him into the building.
In addition to today’s fighting in Gwarsha there has again been heavy clashes in a number of districts in Benghazi, including Kish, Fuwayhat, Hawari, Leithi and the downtown area. The sound of mortar fire could be heard in much of the city. LNA aircraft were also used.
There have been a number of casualties both military and civilian in the fighting over the past few days, particularly as a result of random artillery fire largely blamed on Ansar Al Sharia and on the IS forces in Leithi.
Early yesterday morning, a 21-year-old civilian named as Ziyad Faraj Al-Badri was killed when a missile hit his home. On Friday 15-year old boy, Ali Naji Al-Obeidi, died when a missile smashed into his family’s appartment in Fuwayhat. Another missile hit a parked car, but no one was reported hurt.
There have been a number of military casualties as well. On Friday, a LNA soldier named as Hassan Zaroug Mijrisi was killed in Sabri. Five others were injured. The following day, another soldier, Saad Mohmaed Al-Maghrabi, 34, was also killed in Sabri. Sixteen other soldiers were injured in fighting in the same area as well as ion Leithi, Hawari and the centre of Bengahzi.
There were reports that Dignity spokesman Colonel Mohamed Hejazi was targeted by a sniper on Sunday in Leithi district but excaped unharmed.
Meanwhile, new armoured military vehicles are reported to have been supplied to the LNA in Benghazi. [/restrict]