Africa

Libya's Ansar confirms chief's death

  • 25 January 2015
  • From the section Africa
Mohammad al-Zahawi, head of Ansar al-Sharia Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mohammad al-Zahawi's death is said to have resulted from wounds sustained in a battle in October

Libyan Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia has confirmed that its leader Mohammad al-Zahawi has died.

In a statement, the group said "we mourn the death of the emir", without giving further details.

His death is thought to have resulted from wounds sustained in a battle with Libyan government troops in the eastern city of Benghazi last October.

The group is blamed for the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, in which the US ambassador was killed.

Three other Americans also died.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ansar al-Sharia denies any involvement in the 2012 attack on the US mission in Benghazi

Ansar al-Sharia, which calls for the implementation of Sharia law across Libya, denies being behind the attack.

The group, whose name means "Partisans of Islamic law" in Arabic, emerged following the February 2011 anti-Gaddafi uprising.

It is made up of former rebels from several militias based in eastern Libya, notably the Abu Obayda bin al-Jarah Brigade, the Malik Brigade and the 17 February Brigade.

It has been designated a terrorist organisation by both the UN and US.

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