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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tripoli Clashes: Rebel-on-Rebel Fighting

November 2, 2011
last edits Nov. 11

Among the NTC forces remaining in Tripoli to protect civilians from dangerous Gaddafi loyalists are the hardcore mountain brigades from Az Zintan, and the hardcore siege-revenging, Tawerghan-hunting brigades from Misrata. They both seem to share a fondness for summary executions, cruelty to captives, and a special disdain for black people, from Libya and abroad.

Their record so far is impressive. An October 14 gun battle in the Abu Salim district netted two dead loyalists and 27 arrested, including four "African mercenaries." Then one Zintan fighter, in late October, shot a woman dead for daring to lift her veil and argue with him (see above link).

With such attitudes abounding and perhaps getting worse, little surprise they were forced to fight another battle the other day - at rebel-held Mitiga hospital in Tripoli. Against fellow Gaddafi-haters, not loyalists. Following the narrative provided by NTC and hospital sources, one can understand why they had to act boldly.

According to the Associated Press, the battle lines were drawn during a fight of mysterious origins among rival rebel groups, apparently late on Sunday the 30th.
The most recent incident began Sunday with a clash in a Tripoli neighborhood between fighters from the towns of Zintan and Misrata. A Zintan fighter was killed and another, from Misrata, was wounded and taken by his friends to Tripoli's Central Hospital, said Abdel Nasser al-Mohandes, security chief at hospital.

Gunmen from Zintan followed their Misrata rivals to the hospital. One sneaked into the operating theater and fired one round, apparently trying to kill the wounded Misrata man, but was disarmed, al-Mohandes said.
The punk still wasn't dead, even after the second try. It's an eye for an eye, nothing for an eye. Financial Times, via a Time blog, describes how following this snub, the serious fight began:
"...militia from the town of Zintan were stopped by guards from the Tripoli Brigade from entering the city's Central Hospital to kill a patient... doctors and patients had to flee the building and two elderly patients died of heart attacks during the shooting, which lasted from about 1am until dawn. Heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft guns were used by both factions, supposed allies who in reality nurse a dangerous rivalry.

The shoot-out started when a group of gunmen arrived at the hospital in search of a man they had shot earlier in the night. Witnesses said the gunmen were drunk, and had come to finish the man off after learning that he had survived and been taken for medical treatment."
The whimps gave up at dawn's light, afraid to be seen fighting for justice in broad daylight. Or their buzz was wearing off. Digital Journal reports:
According to the Telegraph the gunman was overpowered but then hundreds of fighters from Zintan descended on the hospital and fighters from the brigade in Tripoli were called to deal with them. During the ensuing gun battle one passerby was killed and one fighter from Zintan. Seven fighters from the Tripoli brigade were wounded.
Yeah? And one of them better be dead soon too. That's two drunk Zintani hillbillies killed now! (unless the drunk part, or any of the rest of it, was a propaganda slur, in preparation for blaming the Zintan guys for all Libya's new problems, or something... I had presumed it would be the Misrottens, but either group has put itself in the forefront of (recent) abuse delivery enough to play patsy now)

Digital Journal further adds that the fighting only stopped "at the persuasion of a cleric called from a nearby Mosque," who must've appeared just before dawn and might've reminded them how bad their assault would look once the sun rose. And it quoted a rather bold doctor saying "we don't feel safe" with the current "security" forces, and "I'm fed up seeing them every day." But the expert on the hospital's security, Mr.al-Mohandes, said "I think it will happen again. They will be back for revenge."

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