On 06 Feb, Mahmoud Warfali, the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) Saiqa Commander, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for summary executions, surrendered himself to military police forces in the eastern city of Marj. As a result, tensions quickly escalated into armed clashes between Warfali’s Saiqa Brigade and General Haftar’s son, Saddam and the 106 Brigade, across Benghazi. Two days later, two IEDs exploded in Benghazi’s Saad Bin Obada Mosque, located between the Al-Majori and AL Birkah areas, resulting in 2 deaths and wounding 80 others, on 08 Feb. Moreover, on 10 Feb, the LNA released Warfali, declaring he will not be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and will be prosecuted in the country. In a clear sign that Benghazi’s security situation is deteriorating, Warfali’s release and the IED explosions will affect the country’s upcoming elections and directly undermine Haftar, who has used the stability and security of Benghazi to raise his prospects as a potential candidate in Libya’s upcoming elections.
SDF tensions with Tajoura locals
Following the heavy clashes between the Special Deterrence Force (SDF) and AlBugra militia in Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport, the security situation has temporarily stabilized in the area. The halt in hostilities is allegedly due to an agreement between Al-Bugra and the SDF, in which local figures and municipality officials are believed to have played a key mediating role. However, there are prevailing tensions in Tajoura amid growing concerns from locals that the SDF is advancing further into the area. Tajoura locals recently demanded in a televised statement that the SDF releases prisoners and family members currently detained in prison at Mitiga Airport. As a result, the SDF announced on Jan 21 the release of six people out of a total of 61 individuals arrested during the attack on Mitiga Airport.
This week was marked by unconfirmed intelligence reports suggesting that forces affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) were preparing an attack in Libya. Meanwhile, commander of the Zintan Military Council (ZMC) and the Government of National Accord (GNA) Western military zone announced the launch of an anti-crime operation in Western Libya that raised significant tensions in the region.