Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Libyan Commando Mahdi al-Haratia : a Mavi Marmara "peace activist" ?

According to the Spanish daily ABC, Mahdi al-Haratia, a Libyan rebel commander who played a key role in overthrowing the rule of Muammar Qaddafi participated in the May 2010 Gaza flotilla aboard the Turkish-owned vessel the Mavi Marmara. "Peace activists" aboard the Mavi Maramara ambushed and attacked Israeli soldiers, beating them with clubs, and throwing them off overboard. The Mavi Marmara incident left 8 dead.

From John Rosenthal at the National Review

"The paper’s source for the story is the rebel leader himself: Mahdi al-Haratia, the commander of the so-called Tripoli Brigades, which are widely credited with having played a decisive role in the rebel conquest of the Libyan capital in August. After the seizure of Tripoli, al-Harati was named second-in-command to Abdul-Hakim Belhadj, the head of the newly formed Tripoli Military Council. Belhadj is the historical leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), the Libyan affiliate of al-Qaeda.

According to his December 17 article, ABC correspondent Daniel Iriarte unexpectedly ran into al-Harati and two other Libyan associates of Belhadj in Syria, where the Spanish journalist was working on a story on the “Free Syrian Army,” the recently formed rebel force that aims to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. The Libyans made no attempt to hide their identities, Iriarte reports, explaining to him that that they were in Syria “in order to evaluate the needs of our Syrian revolutionary brothers.” Altogether “a few dozen” Libyans were in Syria to support the anti-Assad insurgents, they said.

Prior to the Libyan rebellion against Qaddafi, al-Harati was living in exile in Ireland. He is reported to have returned to Libya in February, at the very outset of the uprising. On his own account, barely eight months earlier he participated in the “Free Gaza” flotilla aboard the Mavi Marmara. “I was wounded on the Mavi Marmara and spent nine days in an Israeli prison,” he told Iriarte"

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