Libyan Official: Terrorists Have Returned to the Capital

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Saad bin Sherada, a member of the Libyan High Council of State (HCS) stated that most of Libya’s wanted terrorists are safely residing in Tripoli.

He added that the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Abdel-Hakim Belhaj “has returned to Tripoli to have his name removed from the lists of those wanted by the Attorney General on terrorism charges.”

“There is a possibility this will happen,” he warned. Bin Sherada expected Belhaj to not involve himself in the ongoing struggle between the two rival Prime Minister’s, Fathi Bashagha and Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba.

Earlier this week, Belhaj arrived in Tripoli, from Doha. He is one of the most prominent post-2011 militia leaders. He has been accused of being involved in several attacks on public facilities, and helping to destabilize Libya.

Since 2017, he has been added to the counter-terrorism list of four countries, including the Libyan Parliament.

Belhaj also faces direct accusations from the Libyan military, for allegedly stealing large amounts of gold, and money from Libyan banks after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. It claims that it “has evidence proving that he deposited billions of dollars in Turkish banks.”

Belhaj was imprisoned by the Gaddafi regime, for his role in the LIFG. He reportedly now owns several companies, including the Alnabaa TV channel, which is described in Libya as “the channel of sedition.” As it has a reputation for polishing the image of terrorist groups and extremist militias. He was also involved in the transfer of Syrian mercenaries to Libya, through his “Libyan Wings” airline.

In 2013, members of the Tunisian National Initiative, Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi accused Belhaj of being involved with the Tunisian Ansar Al-Sharia organization. This has been classified as a terrorist organization by the Tunisian Interior Ministry.

In 2019, the Libyan Attorney General issued an arrest warrant for Belhaj, in connection with several attacks on oil fields and ports, on the Tamanhint base, and for intervening in the fighting between tribes.