Benghazi declared ‘Islamic emirate’ by militants



Libya’s Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia has said that it seized complete control of Benghazi late on Wednesday, declaring the city an “Islamic emirate,” the group’s representative said.

Ansar al-Sharia is blacklisted by the United States over its alleged role in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, eastern Libya.

An official representative for the armed group told a local radio channel that Benghazi is now under its control.

“Benghazi has now become an Islamic emirate,” said Mohammed al-Zahawi, the spokesman, to Radio Tawhid.

However, Khalifa Haftar, a retired, renegade former army general who earlier this year launched a self-declared campaign to clear the city of Islamist militants, denied the group’s claims.

“The national Libyan army is in control of Benghazi and only withdrew from certain positions for tactical reasons,” Haftar told Al Arabiya News Channel.

“The claim that Benghazi is under the control of militias is a lie,” he said.

Ansar al-Sharia’s declaration comes a month after jihadist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) announced an “Islamic caliphate” over their territory.

Their annoucement also comes following two days of fighting in which Islamist fighters and allied militiamen overran an army base in the city.

Al Arabiya’s correspondent in Libya reported that Islamist groups had seized the headquarters of the Libyan army’s Special Forces in Benghazi late on Tuesday following heavy fighting.

Turkey’s Anadolu news agency quoted Talal bin Harir, a Benghazi Shura Council member, as saying that the Islamists were in control of the army base.

Meanwhile, the country’s western region- including the capital Tripoli – has been hit with a full power cut after shelling on power plants.

Three years after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi, the OPEC nation has failed to control former rebel militias who refuse to disband and threaten the unity of the country.

The extent of recent hostilities has increased Western worries that Libya is sliding toward becoming a failed state and may once again go to war.

Several foreign states have withdrawn their citizens and diplomats from the state.

Discussion3 Comments

  1. Just what the Muslim world needs is another declared caliphate….Islamic militants are destroying every country in which they exist and Libya will just be another example…ansar al sharia, is no different than ISIS, Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Shabbab, Hamas, Hezbollah, and TTP…all are just radical Islamic militants who are just criminals using Islam and sharia to justify their murder of anyone who opposes them…the Muslim world is starting to wake up to these extremist who hide behind Islam as a convenient excuse to use violence to gain power…that is all they are doing…it is all they have ever done…

  2. Eddied

    What do you say about claims made by Edward Snowden about the despotic self acclaimed caliphatic on the payroll of Israel. In fact under went a year long training with Israel.

    Pakistan has provided ample evidence that the TTP leadership is in collusion with foreign states.

    Who is the real culprit the fools incapable to think that the brand of Islam they follow is not the Sunnah or the ones architect in a new era of divide and conquer muslim lands paving the way for new pro western dictators.

    Al Sisi was a nobody his mother Jewish and uncle supports and fought for Israel.

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