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Omar Mukhtar – The Lion of the Desert

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In 1911, Italy took Libya from the Ottoman Caliphate and formed the colonies of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania

In North Africa, the leaders of the Senusiyyah, joined forces with the Ottomans and used all their strength to start up a new resistance against the French and Italian colonial invasion.

The Libyan national struggle against Italy was led by Omar Mukhtar, a Senussi Sufi teacher

Omar Mukhtar was born in eastern Cyrenaica, Al Butnan District, in the village of East Janzur east of Tobruk.

He had studied at an earlier Senussi university, in the town of Al-Jaghbub, the main Senussi redoubt, on the Libyan border with Egypt.

A teacher of the Qur’an by profession, Mukhtar was also skilled in the strategies and tactics of desert warfare.

He knew local geography well and used that knowledge to advantage in battles against the Italians,

Mukhtar repeatedly led his small, highly alert groups in successful attacks against the Italians,

Mukhtar’s men skillfully attacked outposts, ambushed troops, and cut lines of supply and communication.

The Italian army was left astonished and embarrassed by his guerrilla tactics.

Omar Mukhtar led the rebellion against Italian occupation of Libya for 20 years until his capture at the old age of 70.

Mukhtar was tried, convicted, and sentenced to be executed by hanging [by Italians] in a public place.

When the judge said: “Italy’s martial law court has decided for your execution”. In response Omar Mukhtar replied: “The ruling and decision is Allah’s alone. Your fake and fabricated ruling has no worth to it… To Allah we belong and to him we shall return”.

Rome controlled Libya as a colonial possession from 1911 until the fall of fascist Italy in 1943

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