By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 5 December 2015:
Tripoli’s Rada (Special Deterrent Forces) brigade, headed by Abdul Rauf Kara, has put out a . . .[restrict]video of an alleged Tunisian prisoner purporting to be a member of IS.
The prisoner was captured last Thursday after a raid by Rada forces on the Tawheed brigade in the Fournaj district of Tripoli during which an alleged IS commander, Murad Gmati, was killed.
Rada said that they intended to question Gmati and that he had resisted arrest and opened fire on them.
The prisoner gave his name as Jihad Shandur / Shandub, aka Abusaif Al-Islam, and his date of birth 1989 hailing from Djerba, Tunisia. He said that he had been in Libya for a year and had been smuggled in through the desert by fuel smugglers from the Ben Guerdane Libyan-Tunisian border region.
Once in Libya, he claimed that he went to Al-Jmail then to Sirte to await a Libyan passport to go to Syria. A fake green Libyan passport was supplied with which he flew to Turkey via Misrata. However, he was returned by Turkish authorities to Misrata.
He moved on to Sirte and then on to Sabratha where he claimed he joined another three IS members before going on to the Tawheed brigade’s headquarters in Tripoli’s Fournaj district where he remained for a few months.
The prisoner said that when he arrived in Libya his intention was to join IS in Syria but that there was ‘‘confusion’’ and ‘‘differences’’ of opinion between its local leaders and was forced to remain in Libya.
He claimed that he was told he was to carry out an operation in Tunisia against tourist targets. Four people were ‘‘prepared’’ for the Tunisia operations, but only three people went. The three he believes are still in Sabratha and were unable to go into Tunisia due to border closures.
He also claimed, as had been alleged at the time, that IS were responsible for the attack on the Mitiga airbase prison in September this year.
The aim was to free IS prisoners held there by Kara’s Rada brigade. The attack was carried out by four foreign IS members, supported by three Libyans who stayed outside the airbase, he said. The weapons and explosives for the attack had been stored at a nearby mosque, he alleged.
Asked by the interviewer what was IS’s problems with Rada, the prisoner said that Rada was preventing them from hitting diplomatic missions in Tripoli.
He also claimed that IS were responsible for the kidnapping of foreigners in Libya, including the kidnapping of Italians from the Mellitah complex.
There has been a split within the Islamists who control the capital, between those who are Salafists and jihadists. Rada are in the former camp. IS is the most radical of the later.
It must be pointed out however, that there is some social media chatter questioning whether the prisoner is a member of IS with accusations that Gmati’s killing was no more than the inter-militia power struggle for turf control within Tripoli.
All the information about the incident has been from Rada’s own media output with no independent confirmation or denial of their version of events. No independent media has been allowed to question the accused prisoner and his on-video confession.
The incident and video has led to at least one other brigade pre-empting any accusations of extremism by releasing a statement in which they denied any links with extremist groups.
The reference to IS members being in Sabratha by the prisoner in the video has also led to Sabratha Municipality Council releasing a statement yesterday denying that their town harbours IS training camps.
It has invited media to visit and inspect the town. The Libya Herald has received a direct invitation from Sabratha Municipality to visit it. [/restrict]