By Maha Sulaiman.
Benghazi, 3 February 2016:
Armed forces commander-in-chief General Khalifa Hafter is reported to have laughed when he read an interview . . .[restrict]with him published in a Saudi newspaper. His staff say the interview never took place.
The story in Alyoum had Hafter making a series of controversial statements, seeming to praise the Qaddafi regime for the order and prosperity it provided, rubbishing the qualifications of Serraj’s then newly-chosen defence minister Al-Mahdi Al-Barghathi and promising that, when he had gained control of Benghazi, he would press on to Sirte and then Misrata and points further west, “cleansing the country of terrorism”.
Hafter’s staff say that the article was a complete fabrication by an Egyptian journalist who had claimed to have interviewed Hafter by email.
Air Forces commander Saqr Geroushi told the Libya Herald this evening that no such interview had taken place.
“General Hafter does not do interviews on the phone or by email. He does not talk to the media except at press conferences or on TV”.
Geroushi added that Hafter had broken into laughter when he was shown the article on Alyoum’s website. The story has since been removed by the paper.
Tonight, Geroushi said, the army had posted a statement on its social media page denying categorically that there was any basis to the article. [/restrict]