Libya’s Rafallah Sahati Brigade Logo
CAIRO – 25 July 2017: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain announced in a joint statement late Monday that they have included Libya’s Rafallah Sahati Brigade among the nine organizations newly added to their terrorism watch list.
The Arab quartet added three Yemeni and six Libyan associations to their terrorist list, stressing that "these new measures come within the framework of monitoring the counter terrorism approach that the four Arab nations determined."
The Rafallah Sahati Brigade is a terrorist militia previously led by Ismail Mohammed al-Sallabi -- a leader of the Benghazi Defense Brigades and key recipient of Qatari support in Libya. Rafallah Sahati is a member of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council.
Mohammed Ali al-Zahawi, the deceased leader of al-Qaida’s Ansar al-Sharia Benghazi, was a commander of the Rafallah Sahati Brigade.
The brigade was named after one of the first Libyans to die while fighting Gaddafi's forces in March 2011 in Benghazi. It began as a battalion of the 17 February Martyrs brigade, before expanding to become a group on its own. Its members are estimated at 1,000 with presence in eastern Libya and in Kufra.
The Arab quartet’s statement added that the continuous and ongoing “violations” of the Authorities in Doha of Qatar’s commitments and obligations enshrined in agreements to which it is a signatory, have necessitated The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Bahrain to act to update their respective lists of designated terrorist organizations and individuals.
Qatar’s relations with several Arab states have been strained since May 24 over a leaked statement attributed to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, criticizing Gulf foreign policy with Iran, describing it as “unwise”.
Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad’s recent remarks in which he attacked Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) prompted the major Arab powers to adopt urgent and strict measures towards Doha.
The Qatari crisis was escalated when Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE, along with Yemen and Libya announced a coordinated diplomatic break with Qatar, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. They also closed their airspace and seaports for Qatari transportation.