Seven Iranian Red Crescent members were abducted in downtown Benghazi yesterday. Today there were bomb blasts and a jail break.
People gather to inspect the damage to the Libyan intelligence building after a bomb explosion, in Benghazi, on Aug. 1.
By Dan Murphy
The Christian Science Monitor
August 1, 2012
A lot has gone right in Libya since the successful war to topple the regime of Muammar Qaddafi last year. An election was finally held last month and the country's new political leaders have avoided open fighting for power that some feared would follow in the wake of Mr. Qaddafi's ruinous time in power.
But some of the militias who fought Qaddafi resemble little more than criminal gangs today. Generally untouchable, they continue to swagger through Libya's towns and cities, demanding special treatment as a reward for their role last year. Many of them are now technically integrated into the security services, but continue to operate with impunity.
The Associated Press reports that a bomb blast hit a military intelligence building in Benghazi early this morning, and overnight a militia raided a local jail, releasing Salem al-Obeidi, who is accused of being behind the murder of Abdel Fateh Younes outside of Benghazi last summer. Mr. Younes was a longtime military enforcer for Qaddafi who defected to the rebellion. He was vying for its military leadership at the time of his murder.
It hasn't been a good week for security in Benghazi, Libya's second largest city and at the heart of the uprising. In the early hours yesterday, seven Iranian members of that country's Red Crescent were kidnapped there. The Iranians were invited there for a conference to discuss coordinating aid efforts with their Libyan counterparts and were kidnapped as they sought to return to the high-rise Tebesti Hotel where much of the foreign press that covered the war based themselves.