Libya's Islamists Ansar al-Sharia confirm leader's death

January 25, 2015 19:52


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TRIPOLI - Libya's Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia, accused by the US government of killing its ambassador to Libya in 2012, has confirmed the death of its leader Mohamed al-Zahawi, the SITE monitoring service said on Sunday.

Zahawi, whose Ansar al-Sharia brigade is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, died from wounds sustained in battle, members of his family told Reuters and a Libyan official said previously.

Ansar al-Sharia is deeply embroiled in the violence and struggles for wealth and influence that have engulfed Libya since a 2011 uprising toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

Its members have been battling the forces of former Libyan army general Khalifa Haftar since he declared war on the group in May, pushing it out of much of the Libya's second-largest city Benghazi.

The US government blames Ansar al-Sharia for an assault on a former diplomatic compound in the eastern city in 2012, which killed the US ambassador and three other Americans.

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