By Saber Ayyub.
Tripoli, 25 October 2015:
The regime in Tripoli has blamed Friday’s deadly missile attack in Benghazi’s Kish Square on General . . .[restrict]Khalifa Hafter.
In a statement that is likely to inflame opposition to it and further undermine attempts at reconciliation, the GNC-appointed government led by Khalifa Ghwell has said that Hafter’s Operation Dignity had carried it out.
“This criminal, terrorist act, carried out by the hands of traitors who have been destroying Benghazi for more than a year and a half, aims to sow confusion,” it said. It added that Dignity then accused “loyal people of Benghazi” for the attack in which nine people died and 35 were wounded.
In Benghazi, the attack has been widely blamed on Ansar Al-Sharia and the Islamic State.
It is not clear if the Tripoli statement was referring to them as being the” loyal” Benghazi people.
Meanwhile, in contrast to the regime’s stand, the reaction on the streets in Tripoli to the Kish killings have been one of solidarity with Benghazi – although there is an element of anger that Hafter and the House of Representatives are blocking a peace deal.
“It is very sad. Innocent people are paying the price in such incidents,” 27-year-old Ahmed Al-Balili told the Libya Herald.
A similar view came from shop owner Tarik: “People in Benghazi are suffering because they took to the streets to demonstrate”.
Sympathy for the courage of Benghazi people despite the known threat from Ansar and IS came from others . “I am not with them refusing the proposed Accord Government, but they have the complete rights to refuse it” said Tripoli resident Manal. “These militias don’t accept democracy and the freedom of expression. The lives of people are very cheap to them,” she added.
Kareema, a student agreed: “I wish Tripolitanians had the same spirit as the Benghazi people. That way militias would never rule us.”
Hussein Al-Hadi, a 52-year-old butcher also express his admiration for the country’s second city. “The history of Libya is always coming from Benghazi. I think Benghazi will come up with the scenario for the future of Libya.”
There is resentment, however, at the opposition in Benghazi to a peace deal. “I can’t understand what Benghazi people want exactly,” said 30-year-old housewife Intisar Sulieman. “We all need a unity government to help all Libyans move from the bad times we are going through.”
There is also the occasional expression of support for the local authorities’ view that Hafter was behind the attack.
“He is dirty enough to do something like this. I wonder how people in Benghazi can be fooled by him”, said one man who did not want to be named. [/restrict]