Rogue Libyan General Khalifa Haftar launched an operation against Islamist jihadists on Sunday in Benghazi, Libya, Sunday.
Up to a dozen people were killed, and as many as sixteen were wounded in the attacks. Power was knocked out in much of eastern Libya when rockets hit a power station, according to the state electric company. In addition, Haftar detained five militants.
Benghazi is the city where Islamist radical entities, such as Ansar al-Sharia, attacked the American consulate on September 11, 2012. Four Americans lost their lives in that attack, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Haftar’s Air Force commander said that Ansar al-Sharia would continue to be bombarded via air strikes, calling the Islamist group an “extremist” faction. “This attack will be followed by an aerial strike against a site controlled by extremists in Benghazi suburbs,” he said.
Many within Libya have joined forces and lent support to Haftar’s anti-Islamist operation. Haftar, among others, believes that the parliament had been so heavily infiltrated by terrorist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Ansar al-Sharia, that the only rational choice he had was to commence a full-scale military operation to stifle the Islamist groups’ support. Haftar now commands a sizeable military unit backed by tanks, air support, and advanced weaponry.
Haftar decidedly placed blamed on the Qatari government for propping up the Islamist groups within Libya. In a news conference, he said, “There is no doubt Qatar supports the militias in Libya.” Haftar also accused the Qataris of sponsoring a hit on his life during a June 4 assassination attempt.
The rogue general struck a different tone when it came to recently elected Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. He said that Sisi was the right man to stop the advances of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group, which Haftar called an “international spy network.”