This is a sizable group — on Friday members of it seized 70 military vehicles. Now they’ve taken grenade launchers and kalashnikovs, with the collusion of a Colonel in the Army — which is yet another indication of the fact that such groups’ claims to Islamic authenticity and rigor find a positive reception across a broad spectrum of the population in Muslim countries, including among those who are currently serving the regimes these groups have vowed to replace. “Libyan Islamists seize arms, take hostages,” from AFP, February 21:
Islamist gunmen have stormed a military arms depot and a nearby port in Libya and seized numerous weapons and army vehicles after killing four soldiers, a security official says.
The group also took several hostages, both soldiers and civilians, and is “threatening to execute them unless a siege by security forces is lifted” in Al-Baida, the official told AFP on Sunday, asking not to be named.
“This criminal gang assaulted an army weapons depot and seized 250 weapons, killed four soldiers and wounded 16 others” in the Wednesday operation in Derna, which lies east of Al-Baida and 1300km from Tripoli.
“Army Colonel Adnan al-Nwisri joined them and provided them with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, three pieces of anti-aircraft artillery and 70 Kalashnikov” assault rifles, the source said.
On Friday, he said they attacked the port in Derna and seized an assortment of 70 military vehicles.
It was not immediately clear who the civilians were or where they had been taken hostage.
The group calls itself the “Islamic Emirate of Barqa” after the ancient name of a region of northwest Libya, and the official said its leadership is made up of former al-Qaeda fighters previously released from jail.
The official said the same group was responsible for the hanging of two policemen in Al-Baida on Friday that was reported in Oea newspaper….