Although Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli has repeatedly denied the presence of extremists among its ranks, the return of Ziad Balaam, a terrorist leader close to al-Qaeda, to Tripoli after seeking treatment in Turkey has exposed the GNA’s embrace of terrorists.
A security source in Misrata said that Balaam, who was receiving treatment and rehabilitation in Turkey after losing his right foot in a Libyan National Army (LNA) strike on GNA terrorist militias in western Libya, returned to Libya on Saturday, August 2, accompanied by a number of Syrian militants.
The source pointed out that Balaam left Libya to seek treatment in Istanbul after Libyan terrorist mufti Sadiq al-Ghariani, who currently resides in Turkey, intervened in his favor.
Who is Balaam?
Ziad Balaam, whose real name is Farid Mohamed Balaam, has been a prominent terrorist figure in Libya since 2011, as he led several groups against the LNA in Benghazi, including the Omar Mukhtar Brigade and the Malik Brigade. He was also one of the leaders of the extremist Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council.
Balaam first appeared in Tripoli through a video recording in the first days after the LNA launched its military operation to liberate the capital from militias and terrorists, pledging to avenge the killing of Wissam bin Hamid, who was a prominent field commander of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council).
In 2017-2018, Balaam participated in several failed attacks against the LNA in Libya’s Oil Crescent region. However, he is one of the most wanted terrorists internationally due to his involvement in the assassination of US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens in 2012.
Balaam spent most of his time over the past two years traveling between Misrata and Ankara, as he has strong ties with Turkish intelligence, with whom he has cooperated to recruit terrorists from Syria and bring them to fight in Libya. He has also made numerous visits to the Qatari capital, Doha.
On April 10, Balaam appeared in a photo wearing military uniforms and riding in an armed car bearing the emblem of the Morsi Brigade, led by the internationally wanted terrorist Salah Badi, which proves that he is fighting alongside GNA militias.