Wanted Terrorist linked to the GNA, Ali Al-Zindli, Confirmed Killed by LNA Air Strike After Years on the Run – Al Marsad

Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli, a jihadist fighting with the forces of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), died on Saturday evening after sustaining severe injuries in a Libyan National Army (LNA) airstrike that hit a group of GNA gunmen from the Central Military Zone in the area of Abu Grain, southeast of Misrata.

[Libya, 4 August 2019] – Abdullah al-Zindli, the nephew of the terrorist Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli, posted an obituary on his Facebook account with an image of the burial ceremony for his uncle in Misrata before the call of sunset prayers. Several other accounts attributed to the militia of the extremist Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) also posted obituaries and statements eulogizing the deceased jihadist.

Abdullah al-Zindli posted an obituary eulogizing his uncle’s death.

Abdullah al-Zindli, the nephew of the deceased, also published pictures of his uncle during his participation in the last few days as part of the GNA forces which mobilized in al-Saddada district of Misrata and who were preparing to launch an imminent attack on al-Jufra Airbase. One of the photos showed his uncle with the GNA-aligned Counter-Terrorism Force stationed in the southern axes at al-Campo compound of the Great Man-Made River Authority.

A recent photo of al- Zindli before his death posted on Facebook (3 August 2019)

Who was Ali Abdul Hafiz Al-Zindli?

Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli, nicknamed Zaza, who was born in 1980, was on the list of the most wanted men by the Libyan National Army since 2016. Some sources point to unconfirmed information that he was also wanted by the Special Deterrence Force (SPF) in Tripoli, but Al Marsad was unable to confirm whether he was wanted or not by the SFP. His final escape was to the city of Misrata, where he resided. Zalla city, located in the Jufra region, was the hometown of Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli.

Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli (Archive)

Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli worked as a craftsman in the city of Zalla and joined the fighting against the troops of the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in the aftermath of the February 2011 uprising. Before 2011, al-Zindli had never received any military training on the use of weapons, or taken part, locally or abroad, in any combat operations in the hotspots of extremism and terrorism such as Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other areas.

Zaza’s Affiliations

Zaza had maintained a police record at current and former security agencies’ archives. Local inhabitants in Jufra knew about his radical and extremist beliefs.

Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli (Archive)

In 2016, he joined the extremist militia the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB), which announced in its foundational statement on 1 June, 2016, setting a precedent in Libya and North Africa, that it considered the former Grand Mufti of Libya Sadiq al-Gharyani as their sole religious reference—emulating the Shia armies’ loyalty to Wilayat al-Faqih in both Iraq and Iran where they consider the Shia Imams and prominent clergymen as their reference and guides.

The militiamen of the Benghazi Defense Brigades declared in a statement the impeached former Grand Mufti Sadiq al-Gharyani as their sole reference.

Following the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) foundational statement in Jufra, Zaza joined the BDB where he became its de facto commander. The BDB was led by his extremist colleague Ismail al-Salabi, the younger brother of the Qatar-based notorious cleric Ali Salabi.

He was accompanied by a number of extremists, including the fugitive from Benghazi, Faraj Shaku and others. Zaza soon assumed the leadership position in the ranks of the militia.

Archival photos of the terrorist Faraj Shakou, leader of the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries (BRSC) and Saraya Defense, who is also one of the field commanders responsible for the massacre at Brak al-Shati, after he fled from Benghazi.

In May 2017, the BDB waged a hit-and-run offensive on the Brak al-Shati airbase which resulted in the death of 141 Libyans, civilians and military, in a heinous and horrific crime that took place in a period of de-escalation and truce between the GNA and the LNA, that was negotiated and requested by the President of the Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, from Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar during their first meeting in Abu Dhabi.

Sarraj announced an investigation on the same day of the massacre at Brak al-Shati, but the results of the alleged inquiry are still in limbo. Sarraj decided only to dismiss his Defense Minister, al-Mahdi al-Barghathi, in the aftermath of the attack. The latter still insists that he had absolutely nothing to do with that massacre, and requested the results of the investigation to be disseminated in the public domain—an investigation that was supposed to pinpoint the responsibility of the identified perpetrators.

The United Nations Security Council Panel of Experts, and US State Department 2017 bi-annual report on terrorist organizations and sponsors of terrorism in the world designated these militias and the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries (BRSC) as terrorist organizations linked to al-Qaeda and the Ansar al-Sharia, which is allied to Al-Qaeda. Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain included the BRSC on their lists of terrorist organizations accusing it of having links to the State of Qatar.

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Zaza and the Extremist Benghazi Defense Brigades

The establishment of the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) was announced on 2 June, 2016 in a statement read by Mustafa al-Sharkasi. However, the actual leadership of the BDB is under the control of a spectrum of extremists notably Ismail al-Salabi, member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and previously the Commander of the February 17 Brigade where he fights with the remnants of that brigade alongside the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries. This new formation is mainly led by Al-Saadi El-Noufaly.

Saadi al-Noufaly (circled in red) with Colonel Mustafa al-Sharkasi in Jufra during the conference announcing the establishment of the so-called Benghazi Defence Brigade (BRB) on 2 June 2016.

The ceremony declaring the establishment of the BDB was also attended by the extremist militant, Ahmed al-Tajouri and his comrade-in-arms, member of al-Qaeda, Al-Saadi al-Noufaly who is accused of being linked to the notorious Algerian leader of the group of Al-Murabitoun and former military commander of Al-Qaeda in the MaghrebMokhtar Belmokhtar. Both Al-Noufaly and Belmokhtar previously appeared in a video footage that was recorded in a desert area near Ajdabiya. It is ironical that Al-Noufaly had been incarcerated in a Misrata prison last year after he had been indicted as a member of al-Qaeda terrorist organization.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar

Zaza became part of the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BRB( whose leader, Mustafa al-Sharkasi, a discharged military officer during the era of Gaddafi whose rank was promoted to a Colonel by the Chief of Staff, Major General Abdulsalam Jadallah of the defunct General National Congress, announced in a video recording on 5 April, 2019 his early participation in the battle against the Libyan National Army (LNA) in Tripoli and the Western Region with the forces of the Government of National Accord (GNA) before he disappeared from the scene. LNA intelligence assets, however, identified BDB concentration at al-Saddada, where the LNA air force carried out the strike last Friday at dawn.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the Algerian leader of the group Al-Murabitoun and former Military Commander of the Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb was a companion of Al-Saadi El-Noufaly. Belmokhtar issued a statement in the wake of 22 July 2016 attack on eastern and western Ajdabiya where he praised the combatants of the Benghazi Defense Brigades’ operations against the LNA. The notorious Al-Murabitoun leader’s statement included a scathing criticism of France.

Al Marsad at that time has obtained a footage of Mokhtar Belmokhtar where Al-Saadi El-Noufaly was also present.

Zaza also took part in the aborted terrorist attack by the Benghazi Defense Brigades on the Zalla area on 3 May, 2016, where regiments of the Libyan National Army (LNA) were mobilized there in preparation to extend army control over the rest of the cities of the Jufra region. Zaza’s whereabouts were unknown for a while until important leads indicated that he was shifting his domicile between Misrata and southern Libya.

Later on, Zaza appeared on 25 December 2016 in some photos during a visit by the Misrata Military Council to support the Benghazi Defense Brigade (BRB) militia and what they called at thae time the al-Jufra Revolutionaries at the al-Jufra Airbase before the LNA succeeded in controlling the airbase after ferocious battles.

Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli (circled in red) with a number of leaders of the Benghazi Defence Brigade (BRB) militia and the leaders of the Military Council of Misrata, headed by Ibrahim Bait al-Mal.

On the other hand, a statement issued by the Bushra Media platform, the media arm of the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BRB), stressed their cohesion and solidarity with the revolutionaries against what they called “the coup plan led by the war criminal Haftar”.

Photos of Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli (circled in red) at the meeting of the Benghazi Defence Brigade militia at Jufra with senior figures from the Military Council of Misrata (Archive 2016)

The media coverage of the visit, by BRB’s Bushra Media, included a number of photos featuring Zaza, Mustafa al-Sharkasi, and the Commander of the Tagherfet Brigade that was expelled from the Jufra region, Abdul Rahman Bashir, in addition to Wael Mohamed al-Arabi, the Commander of the September 19th Battalion, which was also pushed out of the Jufra region. Ibrahim Bait al-Mal, Chairman of the Military Council of Misrata, Ismail al-Salabi, Field Commander of the Benghazi Defense Brigades, and his assistant Faraj Shaku, also appeared in the photos.

Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli (circled in red) with a number of leaders of armed groups expelled from Jufra (Archive 2016).

The pictures published by the agency showed the presence of a number of extremist elements including Abdullah al-Bousefy, a.k.a. Abu Azzam, the Commander of 12th Battalion, in addition to Ahmed al-Tajouri, who was probably killed in a raid carried out by unidentified aircraft, most likely American warplane on a mission against the Islamic State organization on 14 June 2018, northeast of the city of Bani Walid in the direction of al-Saddada.

Abdullah al-Bousefy, a.k.a. Abu Azzam (on the right, circled red) and Ahmed Tajouri (on the left, circled in red).

Zaza also fought against the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces and participated in the terrorist attacks on the Oil Crescent and on the city of Ajdabiya and the checkpoints east of Ajdabiya at Sultan, Glaidaya, and al-Magrun, on a repeated sequence of hit-and-run attacks on the region in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

A recent photo of Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli posted on social media by his brother.

Last Footage of the Terrorist Zaza

A leaked telephone conversation of the internationally sanctioned Ibrahim al-Jadhran indicated Zaza’s role in these attacks. Jadhran is heard in the phone call urging Zaza, during the terrorist assault, to advance in the direction of the LNA troops which was on a mission to purge the Oil Crescent region”. The LNA made the advance in the Oil Crescent in order to regain control, and resume oil production which reached levels not achieved by the energy sector in Libya since February 2011.

The last photograph of Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli (a.k.a. Zaza) next to the wreckage of a drone, hours before he was killed by an LNA airstrike.

Less than six hours before he was killed in an air raid by the Libyan National Army’s Air Force, Zaza took a picture next to a crashed drone in Saddada. There are conflicting reports whether the drone belonged to the Libyan National Army (LNA) or whether it was a GNA drone. Zaza, along with some of his comrades from the Government of National Accord (GNA)-backed forces, were retreating in a vehicle towards the Abu Grain area east of Misrata when they received a direct hit from an LNA warplane.

Wreckage of the car hit by the LNA airstrike and which killed the terrorist Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli who was fighting with the GNA-backed militias.

The journey of this young man, with his jihadist ideology and his affiliation to the extremist BDB militia, came to an end. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital after sustaining critical injuries in the air raid.

The “Counter Terrorism Force” of the Government of National Accord (GNA) issued a statement shortly after asking the UNSMIL head, Ghassan Salamé, to provide a list of names of the terrorists who he said were fighting alongside the forces of the Government of National Accord in his recent briefing to the Security Council on Monday, demanding an apology from the UN special envoy to Libya.

As Al Marsad shows in this special report, one such terrorist was Ali Abdul Hafiz al-Zindli who was killed this Saturday by the Libyan National Army (LNA). Other terrorists, as listed in this report, continue to fight alongside the Government of National Accord (GNA) and its backed militias, in a tightly interconnected network of jihadi extremism, terrorism and criminality.

© Al Marsad English. 2019.


Further Resources on Terrorists and Jihadists Affiliated to the Government of National Accord (GNA):

EXCLUSIVE: Major General Al-Ghazwi of the LNA Details the Reasons for the Saddada Air Strike South West of Misrata

War Crimes in Gharyan: Forensics Confirm Executions by GNA Militias at Gharyan Hospital

The GNA Human Trafficker: The Al-Bija Scandal

Terrorists Fighting for the GNA Suffer Casualties in South Tripoli – SPECIAL REPORT

Fuel Smuggling Escalates Amidst Silence from the GNA – SPECIAL REPORT

Wanted ISIS Terrorist Fighting with GNA Forces Killed in Tripoli

More terrorist fighters surface in Tripoli

Wanted for US ambassador murder in Benghazi, killed in fighting south of Tripoli

The encirclement of the Tripoli Protection Force

GNA forces collaborating with UN-sanctioned smugglers