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Mahdi Mohamed Zew
The daughter of martyr Mahdi Mohamed Zew tells how her father sacrified his life to open the door of Banghazi’s katiba on 20 February 2011.
… He entered the katiba from which snipers were killing and wounding the young men. He put two cylinders of cooking gas and bottles filled with petrol in his car and lay down in the driver’s seat so as not to be killed by snipers. He entered at high speed through the first door of the katiba, they shot at him with anti-aircraft guns and the car exploded in front of the second door. … Gradually we became aware of the value of his dead. He did not open only the door of the katiba, he also opened the hearts of Libyan people because they realized that the man left behind two daughters when he rushed his car to open the katiba’s door. Now, we know that he woke up the patriotic feelings of all Libyans and entered into history through the widest door with this brave act. We know that he is a hero and a real man because he did not want to watch young men dying and yet do nothing to stop it. … My father was to me friend, brother and mate. He went away and we stayed without him, but I see him on Libyan faces every day. …
Context: Al Jazeera’s Libya Live Blog Feb17 – Feb20
Benina Airport Project
The field engineer John Macnab observed the events of February 2011 on the outskirts of Benghazi.
… I witnessed a Russian Hind gunship flying low to the west of the airport firing on targets. Later that afternoon, I was told by an SNC Lavalin employee who had been at the airport arrivals gate that a plane load of African mercenaries had landed. We set up a survey instrument to get a closer look at what was happening around the airport terminal. I could see a large contingent of soldiers (+/- 200) in a defensive pattern around the west side of the runway. We didn?t know if these were mercenaries or Libyan government soldiers.
Three aircraft landed at Benina in the afternoon including Turkish, Afrikiyah, plus a large unmarked Russian transport plane and they flew scores of passengers out. The four Mig fighter jets based at Benina had taken off as usual that morning but never returned. Two Russian Hind gunships were active patrolling Benghazi and adjacent military installations. We decided it was time to retreat back to camp for safety reasons as there was much smoke rising to the west of the airport where the gunship had been concentrating its attack. …