Libya: Ansar Al Sharia will ‘respond to Haftar’s attack’

Ansar al-Sharia in Libya

TRIPOLI, MAY 20 – Jihadi group Ansar Al Sharia on Tuesday said in a statement it would respond to an attack by former Libyan general Khalifa Haftar. The militant group also said that “Haftar’s war on terrorism is actually a war on Islam supported by the West.”

“We will fight it like we did with Gaddafi,” the extremist group added.

The former general on Friday launched an offensive against Islamist groups in Benghazi. Violence following the military operation dubbed “dignity” by the self-proclaimed Libyan national army to rid the second Libyan city of terrorists, left at least 79 dead and 140 others wounded. Though the government slammed the operation as a coup, Haftar said he was determined to continue and is reportedly gaining consensus among other militants and military groups.

Islamic militias including Ansar Al Sharia have been blamed for the almost daily attacks in which several members of security forces, as well as judges, activists, journalists and foreigners have lost their lives in eastern Libya.

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Excuse me, jihadis, but was not the West helping you get rid of Gaddafi?  Yes, we were and it was a mistake.  Keep out of these wretched places at all costs.

Related: Quick guide to what on earth is happening in Libya: Renegade soldiers want to drive Islamist forces from Libya. The government in Tripoli is too weak to do so.

More news: Libyan air force base in eastern city says it has joined the renegade general’s forces:(Reuters) – A Libyan air force base in the eastern city of Tobruk said on Monday it was allying itself with a renegade general who has promised to purge the country of Islamist militants.

A statement from the air base said its personnel wanted to fight what it called extremists, echoing the rhetoric of General Khalifa Haftar.

“The Torbuk air force base will join…the army under the command of General Khalifa Qassim Haftar,” the statement said. Staff at the air base confirmed its authenticity.