The leader of Justice and Construction Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing in Libya, Mohamed Souwan, has shocked many after praising those killed while fighting under the umbrella of Khalifa Haftar’s Operation Dignity.

In an interview with Arabi21 online news outlet, Souwan stated that he considers “whoever fought with a pure intention to fight terrorism under the banner of Operation Dignity to be among the martyrs.”

“Operation Dignity was announced under a beautiful slogan and a noble goal, which is the fight against terrorism, which was actually present in several areas, including Benghazi.” He said, adding that “those who supported it will also earn Allah’s reward.”

The statement by Souwan has caused outrage and confusion as Souwan and his party are designated as “terrorists” by warlord Khalifa Haftar and his cabinet.

Several institutions have come out in condemnation following Souwan’s statement. Among them are the head of the executive office of the Benghazi Commission, Ali Al-Mane’, who demanded Souwan to “pay respect to the blood of Libyans who gave their lives to defend their land.”

Al- Mane also demanded Souwan to retract his remarks, adding that “it is known to all the havoc that Operation Dignity militias have caused in the country.”

Likewise the head of the Council of Dignitaries and Tribal Chiefs of Benghazi in the Western region, Ali Sati, condemned Souwan’s claim. Sati stated that “Souwan’s remarks was provocative and essentially carried with it an accusation of terrorism against the displaced families of Benghazi.”

It is noteworthy that warlord Khalifa Haftar has not made it a secret that he considers the Muslim Brotherhood to be “a terrorist organization.”

In February 2017, Haftar stated in an interview with Egyptian channel ON TV that “the Muslim Brotherhood was undoubtedly the most dangerous group to the Libyans and their involvement in terrorism is undeniable.”

Other aides of Khalifa Haftar have also stressed this claim. Spokesman of Operation Dignity Ahmed Al-Mismari have accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being “in an alliance with al-Qaeda.”

The Muslim Brotherhood members also designated on the Tobruk parliament’s “list of ‘names, figures and entities linked to terrorism.” Mohamed Souwan was on top of the list together with Saad Salama, Bashir Kibti, Ahmed Soki, and Nizar Kawan.