WND sources in Libya report street fighting erupted in Tripoli after Friday prayer, Nov. 15, between local citizens peacefully protesting in Abu Harida Square and armed gangs from Misrata, a costal city some 130 miles to the east of Tripoli, terrorizing the people Tripoli.
Sources in Libya forwarded to WND photographs and video clips showing armed gangs from Misrata firing on civilians in the street.
Reports forwarded to WND from Libya late Friday indicated 14 were killed and 62 wounded in the street fighting in Tripoli.
According to a report published Thursday, Nov. 14, in the Libya Herald, Tripoli Local Council, or TLC, officials after a series of meetings over five days announced civilian groups in Tripoli have organized to evict peacefully the armed, Islamist brigades from Misrata that have operated in Tripoli’s Gharghour district.
Sources in Libya continue to report to WND that much of the country remains under the control of armed, radical Islamic and al-Qaida-affiliated gangs that have terrorized the civilian population since a NATO force backed by the United States toppled Muammar Gaddafi from power in August 2011.
In December 2012, WND reported that contrary to Obama administration claims at the time, al-Qaida is alive and well in Libya, according to credible documents provided to WND by Libyan expatriates.
In particular, the Libyan expatriates claimed Abdul Hakim Belhaj was at large in Libya as of December 2012, the date of the WND report. Belhaj, an al-Qaida operative, is at the top of a list of Libyan terrorists banned by the European Union from obtaining entrance visas and was the principal organizer of the terrorist attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2011, in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed.
In February 2012, U.S. Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., met in Tripoli with Belhaj and representatives of the Misrata military council, as documented by an Agency France-Press report. McCain reportedly discussed ending the human rights abuses committed in Libya by the 250 militia that Human Rights Watch alleged the Misrata military council controlled.
A photograph from the February 2012 meeting in Libya shows McCain, with U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., standing at McCain’s left, receiving from Belhaj a plague depicting in Tripoli what is known as “Green Square,” renamed “Martyrs’ Square” after the revolution that toppled Qaddafi from power.
WND has also reported that by November 2011, Belhaj, then acting as the head of the Tripoli Military Council and a former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, was holding meetings with officials from the rebel Free Syrian Army officials in Turkey about providing troops and arms to Syria to assist in the fight against the Assad government.