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US hits Libyan militia leader with sanctions

Libyan militia leader Salah Badi was placed on the US sanctions blacklist Monday, days after the United Nations Security Council placed global restrictions on doing business with the Islamist commander.

Libyans greet National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters upon their arrival in Benghazi from Sirte on October 22, 2011. The eastern Libyan city of Benghazi rocked with gunfire and chants of “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) as trucks full of fighters who defeated Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in his hometown of Sirte returned home. AFP PHOTO

In the wake of fractious international talks last week aimed at stabilizing the violence-torn country, the US State Department said Badi was being sanctioned because he had worked to undermine Libya’s government and stability since 2014.

Badi is a senior commander of the armed Al-Sumud front and the Fajr Libya brigade, both of which have challenged the shaky UN-backed coalition Government of National Accord.

“In August 2018, Badi ordered action against rival militias aligned with the Government of National Accord, exacerbating instability in Tripoli,” the State Department said in a statement.

“In addition, forces under Badi’s command have used Grad rockets in highly populated areas, causing indiscriminate destruction and casualties, including emergency responders and ambulance workers.”

During September, according to the US Treasury, which administers sanctions, Badi’s rebel fighters ignored UN calls to join a cease fire and continued attacking rival militias.

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The UN Security Council placed Badi on its sanctions list on Friday in response to a proposal by France.

That came after key Libyan power brokers attended a contentious international effort to create the foundations for peace last week in Palermo, Italy.

But various Libyan factional leaders refused to meet with rivals and international sponsors of the talks themselves could not agree on how to proceed.

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