By Libya Herald reporter.
Benghazi, 4 August 2016:
Benghazi’s battle-hardened 204 Tank Battalion has been renamed and a new commander appointed by General Khalifa Hafter in a bid to break its bonds with the man who previously led it, Mahdi Al-Barghathi. He is now minister of defence in the Tripolui-based Government of National Accord.
It has now become 298 Battalion and the new commander is Abdulkarim Hussein Barghathi.
The choice of another Barghathi is seen as deliberate, the hope being to ensure the loyalty of the Barghatha and the Awagir tribe, of which it is part, to Hafter. It is not clear, though, that this will work. Members of the 204 have remained firmly loyal to Mahdi Al-Barghathi who still manages to go to Benghazi and confer with his former colleagues, despite the opposition of Hafter and his high command.
Meanwhile in Benghazi, where the death toll from Tuesday’s IS suicide bomb at Gwarsha has now risen to 26, there has been continued fighting today in both Gwarsha and Ganfouda. Off the coast at Ganfouda, a boat believed to be carrying suuplies and arms for the militants was attacked by an LNA MiG 21. According to the Beida officies of the Libyan news agency LANA, a number of vehicles used by them were also destroyed as was an arms store.