Occupied Libya police chief, Mohammed Ben Haleem of Benghazi, was almost assassinated on October 12, 2012. The security system in Libya is worsening everyday., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Libyan city open to Islamists
Oct. 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM
DARNAH, Libya, Oct. 27 (UPI)-- Radical Islamists have taken advantage of a weak government to turn the city of Darnah in eastern Libya into a base, local officials say.
"No one will stop anyone from doing anything," Fathalla al-Awam, head of the local council, told The Washington Post. "There's no police, no army and no militias. Nothing. It's an open city from east and west.'
The city, a port, is 156 miles east of Benghazi, where radicals killed the U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans on Sept. 11. It was already a hotbed of Islamist sentiment under slain Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Attacks on local officials and reporters who oppose the Islamists have become common, the Post said. In March, a new police chief was gunned down as he put gas in his car, and on Thursday a building the local government planned to convert to a security center was bombed.
Observers say the Abu Slim Martyrs Brigade and other radical groups have become less open in their operations since the Benghazi killings. Instead of occupying buildings and operating checkpoints, they are under wraps in the city and on farms in its hinterland.
"They were the police and they were the criminals at the same time," Hussein al-Misary, a local journalist, told the Post.
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