Gulf of Sidra and Cyrenaica
Benghazi remains the focus for most of the urban violence in Libya. Previous attacks have targeted foreign interests, local personalities and former regime members. Recent attacks have been increasingly targeted against government locations and infrastructure. This deterioration in security will likely continue in the short term as rival groups vie for influence in the city.
On 31 July, unknown gunmen kidnapped a seven-member Iranian delegation from the Iranian Red Crescent in Benghazi. According to the report, the Iranians were heading to the Tibesti hotel when an armed group kidnapped them. The delegation had arrived in Libya on 30 July at the invitation of the Libyan Red Crescent to discuss humanitarian aid issues. Unconfirmed reports also claimed that the Iranian Consul General in Benghazi was also in the convoy but traveling in a separate car and successfully managed to escape. On 1 August, security sources in Benghazi claimed that the delegation was in good health and was being held by a local rebel brigade. Further reports claimed that the kidnappers are seeking the release of Libyan prisoners held in Iraq and are asking Iran to put pressure on the Iraqi government.
Libyan media reported that a military intelligence building in Benghazi’s Fuwaihat neighborhood was hit by an improvised explosive device on 1 August. There were no reported injuries. The bombing was reported to have coincided with a jailbreak from the Kuwafya prison that freed Islamist militant Salem Al Obeidi, the suspected killer of General Abdul Fatah Younes, who was assassinated in Benghazi in July 2011.
Elsewhere in Benghazi, an armed militia was reported to have stormed Benghazi’s Al Jalaa hospital and assaulted a doctor on 1 August. The gunmen were also reported to have shot up a doctors-only lounge in the hospital. Armed gunmen also attempted to seize a car belonging to the head of public relations for Benghazi’s High Security Committee in the Al Quarsha area and unconfirmed reports claimed that an explosion had occurred near to the Turkish consulate in the city. On 3 August, security forces were reported to have defused two bombs near to the Office of National Security in the city.
Employees at the Sirte Oil Company in Brega were reported to have staged a strike on 5 August which suspended operations at the plant. According to media reports the strike was staged by employees who live in Brega’s 3rd Residential District, to protest rising security concerns and a deteriorating security situation involving repeated incidents of assault and home-robbery.
Libyan media reports claimed that Tabu and Zwai tribal sheikhs in the Kufra region in the south-east of the country had agreed on 1 August to cease all hostilities. The elders asserted that Tabu tribal leader Issa Abdul Majid would agree with the decision. The Kufra area has seen sporadic clashes between pro-government militia’s and Tabu fighters in recent months.