Security units under the command of Khalifa Haftar’s forces in Benghazi blockaded the entire neighborhood of Al-Salmani and nearby areas, preventing people from entering or leaving following clashes that took place at Al-Salmani Al-Shariqi neighborhood when a former defense minister returned to the city, sources told Libya Al-Ahrar TV channel.
The former defense minister, Al-Mahdi Al-Barghathi, who was once an ally of Haftar and under his command in Benghazi but later entered with him in a rift leading to his relocation to western Libya, returned Friday evening to Benghazi, where clashes ensued in what Haftar’s forces described as a security operation targeting “security cells” – implying a reference to the convoy accompanying Al-Barghathi.
Sources close to Haftar’s forces reported that the “security operation” ended after a few hours, and Haftar-loyal Al-Marsad news website cited military officials as saying that a number of people were killed in the clashes.
Al-Barghathi’s family said to Libya Al-Ahrar TV that the man returned in a peaceful manner to his city Benghazi, denying Haftar media’s news about bringing with him armed groups.
Sources also said the clashes in Al-Salmani led to the arrest of a number of bodyguards who were with Al-Barghathi, in addition to a few other people.
The Head of the digital media department of the Libyan Post, Telecommunications and Information Company Mohammed Al-Bediri said the telecom network was cut off in Benghazi, telling Libyan Al-Ahrar TV channel that it could be because of damage to fibre-optic cables. He said maintenance teams were dispatched to the areas to fix the problem.