Two Islamic State militants who were tasked by the terror group with carrying out car-bomb attacks in Tripoli have been arrested on Monday by security forces.
The Special Deterrence Force, a militia operating under the ministry of interior of Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), released a video on Monday showing the two men admitting to plotting attacks against military and police targets in Libya’s capital city.
They were identified as Seraj Khalifa, also known by the jihadi alias ‘Abu Horairah’, and Mohammed Abdullah Bala (aka Abu Aiyoub). The former said he joined the Islamic State in 2015 after pledging allegiance to Mahmoud al-Barassi, the group’s emir in Benghazi’s Sabri district. The latter joined in mid-2016 by pledging allegiance to Abu Omar al-Tunsi, a Tunisian commander of the group’s affiliate in Sabri.
They said they were among an Islamic State group that had fled Sabri in January 2017 to seek sanctuary in the desert south of Sirte where they were reunited with a another group that fled on the same day from Benghazi’s Ghanfoudah district.
It was understood that the two men were among other operatives sent from the Islamic State’s desert hideout to carry out terrorist attacks in Tripoli. They were selected by the the Islamic State’s ‘security unit’ for their status as unknown terrorists. The so-called ‘security unit’ is the terror group's branch in charge of planning and carrying out attacks in territories outside of IS control. The two men said the unit had provided them with a car whose body was modified by adding a small box under the driver’s seat (video below) used to hide improvised explosive devices (IEDs) when passing through security checkpoints.
It was revealed that they were behind the IED which was discovered on Saturday outside Tripoli’s al-A’aielah market. They said it was planted there to target a nearby barracks belonging to Misrata’s al-Bunyan al-Marsous forces.
The men explained that their tactic was to park the vehicle near the selected target, before one of them pretends to be changing the tire while the other plants the IED. Their last operation failed after members of the public reported a suspicious shopping bag outside one of Tripoli’s busiest markets. Two previous attempts failed due to battery problems. Sources told this website that they have been arrested after SDF investigators traced their red Hyundai van which was caught on a CCTV camera near their last target.