Libya Tribune

The Coup Attempt is triggered by a mortar attack on Gaem’s headquarter which lead to a phone call threat to 218 TV by Gaem demanding that Hafter should cede control of the armed forces to Saiqa Special Forces commander Wanis Bukhamada and leave Benghazi with his sons. But, Bukhamada did not wish to be involved in the dispute.

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Chronology of events:

1- Mortar attack kills 3 in Benghazi

3 guards were killed in a mortar attack on the HQs of the Ministry of Interior of Presidential Council in Benghazi on Friday, 5 days after a failed assassination attempt against Deputy Interior Minister Faraj Egaim.

4 mortar shells fell on the HQs in Bodzira district leaving also 7 other guards wounded.

The victims are from Awaqir tribe, which is at odds with the chief commander of Dignity Operation Khalifa Haftar.

Security sources close to Egaim pointed the finger at son of Khalifa Haftar, Khaled, and his armed group.

Deputy Interior Minister Faraj Egaim escaped an assassination attempt on Sunday when a car bomb exploded in his convoy in Sidi Khalifa district of Benghazi.

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2- Egaim declares War on Khalifa Haftar

Deputy Interior Minister of Presidential Council, Faraj Egaim, has given rogue General Khalifa Haftar and his armed groups, mainly from Furjan tribe, 48 hours ultimatum to leave Benghazi or they will face the consequences.

Speaking over telephone to Jordan-based 218 News TV on Friday night, Egaim said there will be a meeting in Barsis town, 57 km east of Benghazi to mandate Wanis Bu Khamadah as top military commander of Benghazi.

In an angry tone, Egaim said Khalifa Haftar was the mastermind of the car bomb explosion that targeted his convoy in Sidi Khalifa last Sunday.

The car belongs to the General Command, it belongs to Khalifa Belgasem Haftar whom we brought in 2014 and has now become a troublemaker”. He stressed, accusing his groups of being behind killings and abduction in the city.

He also accused Khalifa Haftar’s command of being behind the mortar shells that fell today on his camp in Bodzira district leaving 3 guards dead and 7 others wounded.

We declare war on the traitor and his camp in Rajma.” He shouted.

The angry minister also accused Khalifa Haftar of conducting an airstrike on his brigade in Sabri district in 2016 leaving 5 fighters dead and 25 others wounded.

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3- Al-Mismari told Benghazi residents ‘Take your guns and defend yourselves’

Despite claims of Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled army that Benghazi is safe and secure, his spokesperson, Ahmed Al-Mismari, gave a contradictory story and admitted that the war-torn city is under threat of night raids by armed gangs.

During his weekly press conference on Wednesday, November 08, Al-Mismari told Benghazi residents to resist the gangsters and not to comply with their arrest orders, in complete absence of police forces and so-called army units.

Sahawat fighters and radical Madkhali Salafist groups are wreaking havoc in Benghazi with night raids on civilians’ houses to arrest alleged “terrorism” suspects.

People should not comply with arrest orders from masked men; it’s illegal; arrest orders must be issued by the Military Police and the Military Intelligence and carried out by unmasked men in broad daylight and not at night”. He remarked.

He indicated that “the General Command” has now allowed people to use force to defend themselves from the gangs, which try to arrest them without legal orders.

According to local residents, armed robbery and night raids have hit a dangerous level.

Al-Mismari’s remarks were met with anger and a wave of mockery comments from Dignity Operation supporters. Several social media activists questioned so-called army’s ability to arrest those gangsters who arrest civilians in the name of “the army”.

Pro-Dignity Operation activist Hanan Elmgawab criticized Al-Mismari’s remarks and demanded “the army” to arrest those groups instead of telling people to defend themselves.

Arrest them or tell us frankly that you are unable to arrest those groups dressed in military uniforms!” She asks.

Media activist Mohamed Abdul-Wanis, a.k.a Bu Shagma, mocked the remarks in his Facebook page by telling his followers to take their guns.

Blogger Mohamed Al-Jali wondered if “the army” and police departments in the city are able to arrest those gangster, otherwise he would form his own militia to protect himself.

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4- Hafter reacts swiftly to Gaem challenge and takes over Benghazi interior ministry, moves on Berses

In a swift reaction to last night’s challenge from Government of National Accord (GNA) deputy interior minister Faraj Al-Gaem, Khalifa Hafter has this morning taken over the interior ministry building in Benghazi.

LNA units have also surrounded Berses, a predominantly Awagir area 60 kilometres  to the east of Benghazi on the road to Marj, among whose fellow tribesmen Gaem is reported to have taken refuge.

An officer in the LNA’s 106 Brigade, Lieutenant Mutaz Madi is said to have been killed in fighting at Berses. Two other LNA soldiers have been injured, possibly in the takeover of the interior ministry building in Budzira.

It was a mortar attack  yesterday afternoon on that same building which appears to have triggered Gaem’s ‘phone call to 218 TV in which he demanded that Hafter should cede control of the armed forces to Saiqa Special Forces commander Wanis Bukhamada and leave Benghazi with his sons.

A Saiqa spokesman said last night that Bukhamada did not wish to be involved in the dispute.

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Reports by Libya Herald and The Libya Observer