Gunmen attack mosque in Tripoli

2011-10-10 16:44

Tripoli - A group of more than 200 heavily armed gunmen attacked a mosque in the Libyan capital and ransacked the tombs of two imams, witnesses said on Monday.

"They arrived shortly after 22:00 [Sunday night], between 200 and 300 of them, in pickups fitted with heavy machineguns. They took off at about 1:00 am," said Mahmud Rahman, a resident of Tripoli's northeastern Al-Masri district.

"They forced open the mosque's door and then started to dig up the tombs of imams Abdel Rahman el-Masri and Salem Abu Seif, and made off with their relics," said Rahman.

An AFP journalist, visiting the mosque and its adjoining Koranic school, said Muslim holy books had been burnt.

"They had beards and were in military uniform. They must have been Islamic extremists wanting to make trouble. They want power, they want to control Libya," said a teacher at the school, on condition of anonymity.

"They were very well organised. Men sealed off the perimeter of the mosque and were communicating with walkie-talkies," he said.

Last week, a Muslim cemetery in the western district of Gargaresh and another near Tripoli airport were also ransacked, apparently with pneumatic drills and other heavy tools, according to witnesses.

Libya, which practises a moderate form of Islam and whose leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in August in an anti-regime revolt, awaits the formation of a new government at a time of ethnic, regional and religious tensions.

  • Stephen - 2011-10-10 16:55

    Knew you couldn't trust those rebels. The will of the people my ass. Tripoli will become the next Baghdad before long and the Libya intervention will be viewed as another NATO blunder.

      james7 - 2011-10-10 18:23

      You are absolutely correct, except that the Libyian invasion by NATO will never be viewed as another NATO blunder. In the eyes of the media, NATO can do no wrong. It is interesting how NATO invaded Libya to protect their oil interests, and the media never criticized them for it. George W Bush invaded Iraq to take out a dictator and bring democracy, yet he has been constantly villified and harrassed by the media for invading for their oil.

  • Anton - 2011-10-10 17:34

    After 42 years of tyranny, it might take years to get peace and stability in Libya. But for the majority of Libyans, " every single day" will be better than under those "murderers corrupt gadaffie thugs!!!

      Onnest - 2011-10-10 17:53

      I think I disagree with you. It is sad but the realistic truth is that things will not be better without Gadaffi. The people of Libya will see there family members killed in extremist attacks, they will lose their countries wealth to the ever greedy western powers, and witness the corruption of the leaders who once inspired them to take to the streets. It is sad but the people of Libya will still wish for Gadaffi to return so that they can have some normality in their lives. Gadaffi was not a murderous corrupt thug you make him out to be. He was one of the smartest and bravest people to ever have lived. Just because he saw a different truth to your truth does not make him a tyrant.

      Anton - 2011-10-10 20:27

      Omnest, I think the people of Libya will disagree with you. Remember that gaddafi destroyed everything that is needed for a free soceity, political parties, unions, any kind of civic organisation, etc,etc. The security forces were not there, to protect the population, but to secure the dictatorship. And the same with the judiciary, not for the people, but to protect the ones in power. This is going to take time to change!! Why would they loose their countries wealth? It will be the opposite, instead of the wealth being shared by few, the Libyan population will be the benificiary. There has been no sign of corruption as yet, so its unfair to accuse the new leaders of this. That the Libyans want gaddafi back, that's very doubful. Last week gaddafi called on all Libyans to get on the streets and demonstrate. Well,in Tripoli, there were some people standing in the street......, but they were waiting for a bus!!! Although there are many factions in Libya, and many different thoughts for the future, they all have one common factor; Happy that these gaddafies are gone!!!!!

  • Gunnar Forsgren - 2011-10-10 18:24

    You see what crazy people NATO is letting loose now that law and order in Libya has been abolished. NATO has effectively prevented the regime from upholding its state. NATO effectively side with the criminals, allowing destruction of Libya culture and religious history to occur. The effect on this on the libyan population will be far-reaching and substantial. Some will likely spend their remaining lives to revenge such actions. It is likely that the average libyan will be very unhappy about how their country and living environment is simply crushed.

  • tee-hee-hee - 2011-10-10 23:00

    _________________________________________________________________________ The World is appalled by NATO today. Any positive press is coming from the offending corrupt NATO alliance! US/UK principal of Economic gain over morals is immoral corrupt & wrong!!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------

  • Michael McN - 2011-10-11 03:08

    "in the eyes of the media NATO can do no wrong." Get a new media then. One not so blind. As media becomes blind/corrupt/prone to tell lies, replace them and get new honest observers.

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