Sabratha

CORRECTION (19 Sep 2017): ‘The 48th brigade’ is not aligned with the LNA. It has been fighting alongside the Dabbashi militia. The two slain soldiers (below) are members of the 48th Brigade and were shot dead at a checkpoint manned by fighters from the Counter-Daesh Operations Room.          

Two militiamen were killed in clashes that erupted this morning in Sabratha (70 km west of Tripoli) between Anas al-Dabbashi militia and a local militia known as ‘the 48th Brigade’ said to be aligned with the Libyan National Army (LNA).

At least two others were wounded in the heavy fighting which eyewitnesses say is still ongoing in the city centre. It was understood that the fighting was triggered by the killing of the two militants  who were identified as Abubaker al-Dabbashi and Sami Jamjoum at a checkpoint belonging to ‘the Counter-Daesh Forces’ manned by fighters from ‘the 48th brigade’. Sources close to the brigade claimed that its fighters acted in self-defence after being attacked by Dabbashi’s men in the early hours of today.

Sabratha - a major hub for the smuggling of migrants and oil - is no stranger to turf wars between local militias competing to control smuggling routes. Last month, Ahmed al-Dabbashi (aka the Uncle), the commander of Anas al-Dabbashi militia, was rumoured to have received $5 million from the Italian intelligence service in exchange for stopping the flow of illegal migrants to Europe.

Well-informed sources told this website that officials from LNA's al-Watya Airbase are considering to conduct targeted airstrikes against the Dabbashi militia over reports that the latter is being backed by fighters from the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council. “We are monitoring the situation closely and we stand ready to help if the commanders of our forces in Sabratha requested our support,”  the source added.