Libya strongman’s chief of staff survives car bombing: military

File photo showing Libya’s Army chief of staff Abdul Razek Al-Nazuri inspects an honor guard as he attends the graduation of a new batch of armed forces cadets at the military academy in eastern Benghazi on Dec 18, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 18 April 2018

Libya strongman’s chief of staff survives car bombing: military

  • General Al-Nadhuri accuses “terrorist cells” of being behind his attempted assassination
  • The Libyan army chief of staff, his bodyguards, and those traveling with him were unharmed

BENGHAZI: Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar’s chief of staff on Wednesday survived a car bombing in the eastern city of Benghazi, according to his self-styled Libyan National Army.
General Abdelrazak Al-Nadhuri “escaped unharmed from a terrorist assassination attempt after a car bomb exploded... as his convoy passed,” the LNA said in a statement.
The explosion took place in the Sidi Khalifa district at the eastern entrance to Benghazi, the statement said.
One civilian was killed in the attack and another was wounded, a spokesman for Benghazi’s Al-Jala hospital told AFP.
Nadhuri’s spokesman Malek Al-Sharif told AFP that the chief of staff, his bodyguards and those traveling with him were unharmed.
Nadhuri later accused “terrorist cells” of being behind the attempted assassination.
“This cowardly terrorist act comes after the defeat of these terrorist groups in Benghazi,” he told the Al-Hadath news outlet.
A security official in Benghazi, Majdi Al-Orfi, told AFP that the two victims, a Syrian and a Sudanese national, were caught in the explosion. The Syrian died.
The attack comes amid a wave of rumors about the health of Haftar, who supports an administration based in the far east of Libya. He was in hospital in Paris last week after falling ill during a trip abroad.
The strongman has not many any public appearances in the past two weeks and social media has been abuzz with rumors.
After several denials, the LNA acknowledged Friday that Haftar had been hospitalized but was “in good health.”
Libya has been gripped by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with rival administrations and multiple militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.
Last summer, Hafter announced the “total liberation” of Benghazi, after a three-year campaign to seize the city from , militant extremists who had made it a stronghold following the revolution.
Haftar supports a parliament based in the east of the country, while a UN-backed unity government in the capital Tripoli has struggled to assert its authority nationwide, with Daesh group remain active in central and southern Libya despite being forced out of their northern stronghold Sirte in 2016.


Turkish police arrest journalist Altan a week after his release

Updated 13 November 2019

Turkish police arrest journalist Altan a week after his release

  • Altan and the others deny the charges against them
  • On Tuesday a higher court overruled the decision to release Altan, ordering his arrest on grounds that there was a risk of him fleeing

ISTANBUL: Turkish police detained prominent journalist and author Ahmet Altan late on Tuesday, a week after he was released from prison in his retrial on coup-related charges, Istanbul police said.

Before his release last Monday, the 69-year-old had been in jail since his arrest in 2016, two months after an attempted coup which Ankara says was orchestrated by the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The journalist’s case has drawn criticism from human rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies. They are concerned by the scale of a post-coup crackdown against suspected Gulen supporters under President Tayyip Erdogan.

Altan smiled and waved as he was driven away by counter-terror squad police officers after being taken from his home in Istanbul, video and photos published by Turkish media showed.

He was taken to Istanbul police headquarters after a hospital check-up, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

Altan, his brother and other journalists were previously sentenced to life in jail for aiding Gulen’s network. Last week he was convicted again in a retrial, but released from jail given the time served.

Altan and the others deny the charges against them.

On Tuesday a higher court overruled the decision to release Altan, ordering his arrest on grounds that there was a risk of him fleeing, Anadolu reported.

Under last week’s verdict, Altan was sentenced to 10 years and six months in jail. Turkey’s high court had overruled the previous life sentences against him in July, sending the file back for re-trial.

Erdogan’s government has jailed more than 77,000 people pending trial since the failed putsch. Widespread arrests are still routine in a crackdown critics say demonstrates growing autocracy in Turkey.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, and his followers deny any involvement in the coup. Turkey has repeatedly called on the United States to extradite the cleric.