Saturday, December 2, 2023

Libya Releases 4 Hamas Members Detained Since 2016: Media

Date:

Libyan Authorities Release Hamas Members Arrested for Arms Trafficking

Libyan authorities have released four members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas who were arrested in 2016 on charges of trafficking arms to Gaza. The release of Marwan Al-Ashqar, his son Baraa, Mouayad Abed, and Nasib Choubeir was reported by several Libyan media outlets. The men were reportedly freed at the request of the Libyan prosecutor’s office following Turkish mediation.

Background and Arrest

The four Hamas members were detained in Tripoli in October 2016 and their arrest was made public a few months later by the Libyan prosecutor’s office. In February 2019, they were sentenced by a Tripoli court to terms ranging from 17 to 22 years in prison on charges of arms trafficking and spying.

Release and Mediation

While there has been no official confirmation of their release, including from the government of Tripoli-based Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah, several Libyan media outlets reported their freedom. The men, who were incarcerated in the Mitiga detention center in Tripoli, are said to have left for Turkey and then Qatar, which hosts Hamas’s political leadership.

The release of the Hamas members comes at a time when the Gaza Strip is experiencing a nearly eight-week-old war between Israel and Hamas. The fighting was triggered by an unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, resulting in significant casualties on both sides. The release of the Hamas members could potentially impact the ongoing conflict.

Libya’s Political Situation

Libya has been in a state of chaos since the fall of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. The country is currently split between Prime Minister Dbeibah’s United Nations-supported government in the west and a rival administration in the east led by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The release of the Hamas members highlights the complex dynamics at play in Libya, where various factions and external actors have competing interests. Turkish mediation likely played a significant role in securing their release, as Turkey has been involved in supporting the Tripoli-based government.

Implications for the Conflict

The release of the Hamas members could have implications for the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by many countries, including the United States and Israel, has been launching rocket attacks on Israeli cities, resulting in significant civilian casualties.

The release of individuals involved in arms trafficking to Gaza raises concerns about the potential for increased support to Hamas. It remains to be seen how this development will impact the conflict and whether it will lead to further escalation or potential diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation.

Conclusion

The release of four Hamas members by Libyan authorities raises questions about the country’s internal dynamics and its role in regional conflicts. The involvement of Turkish mediation suggests the complex web of alliances and interests at play in Libya. The impact of their release on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas remains uncertain, but it underscores the need for continued diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of the conflict and promote stability in the region.

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