Mohamed Niss

Mohamed Niss

Still on the Loose: Libya’s Most Dangerous Jihadists - Part II
Friday, August 17, 2018

More violence?

Tripoli Braces for Hurricane Igtet
More violence?
al Seddiq al Sour

Al-Seddiq al-Sour, Head of Investigations at the office of Libya’s Attorney General, today held a press conference in Tripoli in which he announced the results of the office’s inquiry into crimes committed in cities across Libya by the Islamic State. Most of what he said is already known, but his remarks confirmed what has been- until today- mere speculations. Mr al-Sour delivered a PowerPoint presentation showing IS’s ‘government’ structure and leadership organogram. Again, most of the names he shared are already known, with the exception of two new revelations: that  Malik al-Khazmy, the notorious emir of IS’s branch in Barqah (eastern Libya) is still alive and believed to be operating in desert areas in Libya's central region, and that IS's 'government' had a Diwan (ministry) for ‘Borders and Migrants’ that was led by Hashem Hussian Abu Sidrah, a former member of AQIM and Darnah’s Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade. Al-Sour said that Abu Sidrah is still alive and that the office has issued an arrest warrant against him. Here are the rest of the findings contained in the Attorney General's report:

Nationalities of Islamic State fighters in Libya

The Attack on US Consulate: Al-Sour said that they have arrested some of the attackers who admitted to their involvement in the attack which they said was carried out by Ansar al-Sharia at orders from its late emir, Mohammed al-Zahawi. Al-Sour added that all of Ansar al-Sharia and al-Qaeda members who were involved in the attack have later joined IS. Click here to read our report about the attack against the US consulate in Benghazi.

The Egyptian Copts: Al-Sour said the office has discovered the burial place of the Egyptian Copts who have been beheaded by IS behind Sirte’s al-Mahari hotel. He announced that they have arrested IS members involved in filming the gruesome beheading of the 21 Egyptian Copts.

Funding: The Libyan official revealed that most of IS’s financial resources were inherited from Ansar al-Sharia who in turn inherited them from its predecessor, ‘the High Security Committee’ which was on the payroll of the ministry of defence of post-Gaddafi governments. IS has also accumulated its wealth from stealing banks - 7 in Sirte alone one involved $54 million. Other sources of income included IS’s ‘taxation authority’ also known as Diwan al-Hesbah, kidnappings and revenues of state owned properties and factories. The same methods were used by IS’s branch in Benghazi.


Wessam al-Zubaidy (aka Abu Al-Mughirah al-Qahtani), Iraqi, was named Wali of the Islamic State in Libya before he was killed in 2015 by a US airstrike. All of IS’s top Libyan commanders are former al-Qaeda operatives, revealed Mr al-Sour.

Malik al-Khazmy (L) & Mohammed Salih Atwayaeb (R)

Abu Aamir al-Jazrawy: A Saudi national, served as the emir of IS’s Tripoli Province. He was based in Sirte and had ordered all the assassinations and attacks against security agencies in western Libya.

Al-Mahdi Rajab Danqou: Head of the IS’s ‘Soldiers and Military Diwan’ – which makes him IS’s defence minister. He is still alive and there is an arrest warrant against him.

Malik al-Khazmy: The Wali of IS’s Barqah Province. Still alive and there is an arrest warrant against him.

Mahmoud al-Barassi: Founded the Islamic State's Benghazi branch in the city's al-Hawwary suburb and served as the group’s emir when it was based in a property known as ‘the white house’. Al-Sour confirmed that Barassi is responsible for all assassinations and bombings that targeted security agencies in Benghazi since 2012.

Youssef Amlitan: The emir of IS branch in Misrata. Was killed in Sirte in 2016.

Abdulraouf al-Toumi: Emir of IS in the capital Tripoli. Was killed during an attack on Tripoli's Maitiqa prison in 2015. A Libyan-Canadian national.

Osama Salem (aka Abu Naseer): Emir of IS in Zliten – deceased.

Hassan al-Safrani: Head of Diwan Bait al-Mal (ministry of finance).  Was killed in Sirte in 2016.

Bilal al-Masry: Served as head of IS’s Justice Diwan.

Hassan al-Salhin Bel-Aaraj: Was IS’s first Libyan recruit and served as head of IS’s armament ministry. Was killed in Sirte in 2016.

Mohammed Salih Atwayaeb: IS’s information minister. Was killed in 2015 by a US airstrike in Darnah.

Bodies of IS Fighters: Al-Sour said that 780 bodies of IS fighters are still being kept in Libyan morgues waiting to be repatriated to their home countries.

Hassan al-Salhin Bel-Aaraj (L) & Hashem Hussain Abu Sidrah (R)

Islamic State’s ‘Desert Brigades’: Mr al-Sour revealed that investigations with members of IS and the so-called ‘Benghazi Defence Brigades’ revealed that IS's so-called  ‘Desert Brigades’ comprise 9 battalions:

1 - Ibn al-Sheikh Brigade: Its commander has been identified only by his last name ‘al-Oreibi’ who was killed in Sirte in 2016.

2 – Zakaria al-Sanqari Brigade: Led by Zakaria Sanqari who was killed in Abu Ghrein in 2016.

3 – Aghlew Brigade: Led by Mohammed Aghlew (aka Abu Rawaha), Libyan, killed in Sirte in 2016.

4 – Hamzah al-Saadawy Brigade: Led by Hamzah Salem al-Saadawy (aka Khattab), killed in Abu Ghrein in 2016.

5 – Tamtam Brigade: Led by Mohammed al-Zuway (aka Abu al-Laith), killed in Sirte in 2016.

6 – Al-Ashayeri Brigade: Led by Abdullah al-Qabayeli (aka al-Ashayeri), killed in Sirte in 2016.

7 – Salah al-Sayd Brigade: led by Salah al-Sayd (aka Abu Anas), killed in Sirte in 2016.

8 – Abu Abdullah Brigade: Led by Ahmed Saleh al-Hammali (aka Abu Abdulah), killed in Sirte in 2016.

9 – The Desert Brigade: Was led by Masoud Falih (aka Abu al-Qaqaa al-Libi) who was killed in Sirte in 2016. Falih also served as commander of the entire Desert Brigades force.

Assassinations: The investigation showed that IS was responsible for over 200 assassinations in Libya including the former Attorney General Abdulazizi al-Hassadi, former head of Benghazi Security Directorate Faraj al-Dressi, the two Tunisian journalists Sofiene Chourabi and photographer Nédhir Ktari, in addition to a long list of politicians, military and security personnel, activists and journalists.  

AQIM: Al-Sour said Libyan authorities have arrested a Mauritanian national in Sabratha over links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Hamas: In a shocking revelation, Mr al-Sour said Libyan authorities have arrested members of a Hamas cell who were operating in Benghazi before fleeing to Tripoli where they were arrested. They have been charged with smuggling weapons to Egypt "and beyond" as well as leaking secrets to Hamas central deemed to be damaging to the security of the state of Libya.

Wanted List: Al-Sour announced that they have developed a database containing names of over 1500 IS members wanted by the Libyan Government for terror related charges. Al-Sour said they have issued 800 arrest warrants against IS members involved in over 200 assassinations across Libya many of whom are now based in Turkey while some are believed to be in Syria and Iraq. Al-Saour said his office is coordinating with the Interpol regarding their arrest.

Manchester Terrorist Attack: Al-Sour said that the office's branch in Benghazi has arrested an individual related to the Manchester bombing, and revealed that Salman Abedi’s father has been released after the investigation cleared him. Al-Sour added that their office is in close coordination with UK's Crown Prosecution.

Execution of Eretrians: Al-Sour said it was was carried out by Abu Muadh al-Takriti in collaboration with IS’s al-Hayat Foundation.

Hostages: Al-Sour said that two of the Italians who have been abducted by IS in Sirte were killed by a US airstrike against an IS compound in Sabratha. Al-Sour said that they have identified the kidnappers of expats from Ghana, Turkey and Tunisia.

Tunisian IS Brides: Al-Sour said that dozens of IS female members of Tunisian nationality are currently in their custody for affiliation with a terrorist group. He hoped that the Tunisian authorities would cooperate with his office regarding the women's case.  

Links to IS central: Al-Sour revealed that members of the terror group have been moving between Libya and Syria through Turkey via three Libyan airports: Tripoli, Benghazi and Misrata.

Al-Sour has confirmed that Darnah was the birthplace of Islamic State’s branch in Libya and that Sabratha was hub for the transfer of Tunisian IS members to Sirte and Benghazi.