After a few weeks of contradictory reports and rumors around the fate of the LNA commander, Khalifa Haftar has staged a remarkable comeback.
On the evening of April 26, Khalifa Haftar returned to Benghazi following a two-week absence for medical treatment in Paris. He received a warm welcome from local tribesmen, elders, the HoR representatives, as well as senior military officials at the Benina airport, Benghazi.
His physical condition until the last moment remained a mystery because of numerous news disseminated by various media.
Stroke, heart attack, lung cancer, coma – this is an incomplete list of Haftar’s diseases, diagnosed by European and Arab news agencies during his absence. But the most radical version was put forward by Qatari al-Jazeera, quoting ‘a medical source’ that he was clinically dead in Paris, France.
Istanbul-based Libya al-Ahrar TV was the first channel, which began to release false news on the health of Khalifa Haftar. According to Foreign Policy, Libya al-Ahrar TV was funded and provided with facilities and technical staff by Qatar in 2011.
At the same time, the al-Nabaa TV Channel, linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, quickly started diffusing fakes about Haftar’s health, making these unconfirmed news the top story of its Telegram channel.
The appearance of Khalifa Haftar, alive and healthy, has put an end to rumors spread in order to bring discord into the ranks of the LNA and increase tension inside Libya before the upcoming elections. Some media releasing the false news were criticized by Libyans in social media. Many Twitter and Facebook users scoffed at false reports on the LNA commander’s death.
The reaction of the Internet audience has not gone unnoticed. However, a number of those media outlets that distributed fake news said nothing in their defense in the following publications about Haftar.
SCMD islamists continue so far refusing to recognize obvious facts. At first many of them under pressure of critics declared they distributed information as many large mass media did, including Le Monde, Gardian, Washington Post.
One of the Islamist Telegram channels questioned the authenticity of photos and videos from Haftar’s meeting at the airport of Benina, pointed out the sky in Benghazi was too bright in contrast to the sky above Tripoli at 6-8 PM. And this probably indicates that the video was, at least, recorded in advance, and, at most, entirely mounted to hide the death of the Libyan marshal.
Khalifa Haftar returned, and it could be denied only by those for whom his death would be the only salvation in face of the LNA’s increasing pressure on Islamist groups and for those who are behind these groups.