Benghazi’s Saiqa Special Forces join Hafter’s ‘Dignity Operation’
By Moutaz Ahmed.
Benghazi, 19 May 2014:
Saiqa Special Forces in Benghazi have thrown their weight behind General Khalifa Hafter and his Libyan National Army saying they will “strike with an iron hand” all those who stand against the revolution.
Speaking at a brief televised press conference this evening Benghazi Special Forces Commander Wanis Bukhamada said the ‘Dignity Operation’, the name given by Hafter to his crackdown on Islamist brigades in Benghazi, was “the work of the people” and that attacks against the homeland would be “crushed by the people’s will”.
He said that the members of Saiqa had themselves suffered at the hands of what he called “criminal takfiri gangs”, a reference to Islamist groups including Ansar Al-Sharia, and had “struggled continuously over the last year and a half to beat terrorism”.
Bukhamada said ultimately “it should be us or them” and that the Special Forces supported the building of the state and the construction of a free Libya.
Saiqa forces remained, at least nominally, neutral during clashes on Friday between forces loyal to General Khalifa Hafter and Ansar Al-Sharia and February 17 Brigade. Special forces clashed with Ansar Al-Sharia at the beginning of this month when the latter attempted an assault on Benghazi Security Directorate.