Haftar-allied Libyan commander wanted by ICC assassinated in Benghazi

Haftar-allied Libyan commander wanted by ICC assassinated in Benghazi
A Haftar-allied Libyan military commander wanted by the ICC for war crimes has been assassinated in Benghazi
2 min read
24 March, 2021
Mahmoud Al-Werfalli was wanted by the ICC for war crimes [Getty]

A notorious commander from Libyan rebel leader Khalifa Haftar's militia force was assassinated on Wednesday afternoon in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

Mahmoud Al-Werfalli, a commander from the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA)'s elite Sa’iqa (Thunderbolt) forces, was gunned down by unknown assailants as he was driving through a main street in Benghazi.

A military source told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service that the incident took place close to the Al-Arab Medical University in Benghazi and that Werfalli - who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) - died after being taken to hospital.

News of the commander’s death was confirmed by Milad Al-Zewi, a spokesman for the Sa'iqa forces, who described the 42-year-old Werfalli as a "symbol" of the elite military formation.

Werfalli has been wanted by the ICC since 2017 for ordering or personally carrying out 33 executions in six separate incidents in and around Benghazi.

In one of eight videos of the killings made in January 2018 reportedly shows Werfalli executing ten people outside the Bayt al-Ridwan Mosque in Benghazi without trial.

Libyans were outraged after another video appeared showing children mimicking the executions.

Despite the arrest warrant against Werfalli, he was promoted by the LNA to lieutenant-colonel in July 2019.

Haftar’s forces, whose stronghold is in eastern Libya, have been accused of multiple war crimes throughout Libya’s current conflict.

In early 2019, Haftar launched an offensive to capture the Libyan capital Tripoli from the internationally-recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA).

They were driven back in 2020 following crucial Turkish assistance to GNA forces.

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