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Cablegate: Embassy Tripoli

VZCZCXRO6524
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHTRO #0298 0991608
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O P 081608Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3328
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 3826

S E C R E T TRIPOLI 000298

SIPDIS NOFORN SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/MAG, INR AND S/CT E.O. 12958: DECL: 4/8/2018

TAGS: PGOV PTER KISL LY

CLASSIFIED BY: Chris Stevens, CDA, Embassy Tripoli, Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(C) Websites al-Manara and Libya al-Youm reported on March 28 and 29, respectively, that a "senior security official" of the Internal Security Organization (ISO) was assassinated on March 27 in the eastern Libyan city of Derna. The sites identified the officer as Ennaji 'Awami, and said he died after being shot twice in the head by masked gunmen in front of the al-Qods School. According to website reports, the slain officer's vehicle was subsequently found parked in the al-Qala' area of Derna's Baab Shiha neighborhood. (Note: al-Qala' - "fortress" or "castle" - is a reference to the historic fort located in that area of town. End note.) According to website reports, security officials mounted a campaign of arrests immediately after 'Awami was killed, but failed to apprehend the perpetrators. They noted that 'Awami was well-known for his "severity and cruelty" and had received multiple death threats before he was killed.

2.(C) Italian, British and Egyptian diplomats told Emboffs April 5-7 that their missions confirmed that the killing had occurred. (Note: Italy and Egypt have consulates in Benghazi, the closest major city to Derna. End note.) Egyptian PolCouns Ahmed Abdel Halim told P/E Chief on April 7 that the Egyptian Consulate in Benghazi confirmed reports that 'Awami was the victim and that he had been killed by gunfire. Their information was that he was shot in front of a Derna school while waiting to pick up his children. It was not/not clear to Egyptian officials whether the assassination was an act of terrorism perpetrated by Islamic extremists or a revenge killing, although Egyptian contacts in Derna took pains to characterize 'Awami as "a hard man" and "a bully". Noting the above-referenced web reports, Abdel Halim stressed that targeting security officials - a phenomenon with which Egypt has some experience - was "extremely rare" in Libya. If confirmed as a targeted killing perpetrated by Islamic extremists, it would represent a "very significant" development, he said.

3.(S/NF) Comment: Post notes that the information above is consistent with some information reported reftel on April 6.The al-Manara and Libya al-Youm websites feature significant reporting on events in eastern Libya. That al-Manara, a London-based site established in 2002, posted its report within a day of the shooting suggests close, well-established contact between eastern Libya and members of the Libyan diaspora in the U.K. End comment.
STEVENS

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