Part One: Abrayek Maziq Younis Al-Masriya (aka Abu Maryam Al-Libi)
Abrayek Al-Masriya, 39, is believed to be the military commander of Ansar Al-Sharia branch in the eastern city of Ajdabiya. He made the news in late 2015 when a small group of jihadists led by him delayed the city’s takeover by the Libyan National Army (LNA) for more than 70 days.
A seasoned fighter who was arrested in Iraq in 2005 and subsequently extradited to the Qadhafi regime who then detained him in Tripoli’s Abu Saleem prison until 2010.
Like other veterans who fought alongside Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan, Al-Masriya played a key role during the war against Qadhafi forces in 2011. In March of that year he utilized his bomb-making skills to obstruct the advance of Qadhafi troops towards Benghazi by planting booby traps under a bridge in Ajdabiya. A contribution for which he was awarded an appreciation certificate in January 2012 by Ajdabiya’s Local Council.
His name became synonymous with the battle for Ajdabiya’s Gallouz neighborhood which he defended against the LNA for over two months backed only by a handful of fighters. But shortages of ammunition and manpower forced him to flee to Al-Jufrah where he will later join the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB). Now he spends most of his time between Misrata, Amsallata and Tripoli.
He is very active on Facebook and on Telegram using his real name. His posts cover a wide range of topics including comments on domestic affairs and the situation in Syria as well as sharing al-Qaeda propaganda materials like the latest Zawahiri speech. His social media accounts are subject to repeated closure for promoting Jihadist propaganda but he keeps creating new ones which would instantly receive hundreds of followers. His prominent social media presence could indicate involvement in recruitment.
His jihadist contact network includes regional players such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Syria’s Jaish Al-Fath and Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly known as Al-Nusrah Front).
He is believed to be the mastermind of the car-bomb attacks against Ajdbiya’s courthouse (15 May 2014) and the city’s Police Directorate (1 Dec 2014). He is also believed to have ordered the assassinations of members of state army and police between 2012 and 2015.
Al-Masriya was born in Ajdabiay in 1978 where he spent most of his life. His high school classmates described him as “an introvert”. His first job was a butcher and he studied mechanical engineering in Benghazi University but it’s unclear whether he had obtained a degree before travelling to Iraq. In a bid to humanize him, a fellow jihadist has described him on Facebook as “someone who is passionate about football and addicted to Play Station”.
We have listed him among ‘the most dangerous’ for his time in Iraq, his regional contacts, his advance combat skills and extensive knowledge of explosives including car-bombs.