Abrayek al-Masriyah, the military commander of Ansar al-Sharia branch in Ajdabiya, whom we have featured in the first part of our series ‘Libya’s Most Dangerous Jihadists’, was released on Monday from Misrata prison.
On 11 October, he was among 24 jihadis arrested by Mistata’s security forces in response to the Islamic State attack on the city’s courthouse. He went on Facebook yesterday to thank “the rebels of Misrata” who have lobbied to secure his release. Among them, he listed Khalifa Ghouail, the prime minister of the so-called national salvation government.
Masriyah’s release represents yet another sign of the growing influence of hard line Islamsits on Misrata’s security scene. A group that has succeeded last week in neutralizing Milad al-Sinki, the police officer behind the recent crackdown on BDB and BRSC Jihadists (1). Sinki was demoted on 7 November and transferred to a different department after the hardliners accused him of torturing to death a BDB prisoner called Mohammed Bakir.
Upon hearing the news on Bakir’s death, the hardliners stormed the HQ of Misrata’s Combating Crime Department demanding the release of all jihadis and accused followers of Quietist Salafism of using the Department to target “the rebels”, a term that since Gaddafi's death is usually used to refer to Islamists.
A well-informed source told this website that a decision has been made to release al-Saadi al-Nawafaly, a prominent jihadist with known links to al- Mourabitoun and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. “Mufti supporters are now in control of the situation in Misrata. They fear that a news about Nawfaly’s release could spark an international outrage, but it’s only a matter of time before he is released,” the source added.
(1) BDB: Benghazi Defence Brigades. BRSC: Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shura Council.