Sacrifice Feast: Libya prepares for Eid amidst war and uncertainty

CCTV News

Sacrifice Feast: Libya prepares for Eid amidst war and uncertainty

As Muslims throughout the world celebrate Eid Al Adha, in Libya the holiday is taking on a mixed tone of festivity and foreboding. Libyan fighters are preparing for the final push to oust ISIL extremists from their holdout in the seaside town of Sirte – a fight predicted to happen soon after the holiday ends.

CCTV’S Stephanie Freid gave us this report from Misurata, Libya.

Sacrifice Feast: Libya prepares for Eid amidst war and uncertainty

Sacrifice Feast: Libya prepares for Eid amidst war and uncertainty

As Muslims throughout the world celebrate Eid Al Adha, in Libya the holiday is taking on a mixed tone of festivity and foreboding. Libyan fighters are preparing for the final push to oust ISIL extremists from their holdout in the seaside town of Sirte - a fight predicted to happen soon after the holiday ends. CCTV'S Steohanie Freid gave us this report from Misurata, Libya.

The “Sacrifice Feast” Libyans choose sheep for feast meals in local, outdoor markets. It’s a holiday of gift giving, prayer, donation and sharing. The Eid is a festive holiday marked by gatherings with family and friends. But for some Libyans, this Eid is bittersweet.

Fifty-seven-year-old Abdallah has been fighting ISIL in Sirte since May. He took a few days off from battle to celebrate the holiday with his family. He’ll return to fighting as soon as the holiday meal ends. His son Hamdan fought in Libya’s 2011 war and was killed three years later by an ISIL suicide bomber. He says it’s his obligation to fight.

Abdellah sits with CCTV's Stephanie Freid.

Abdallah sits with CCTV’s Stephanie Freid.

“ISIL is in Sirte today. But if we don’t get rid of them they’ll be in Tunisia tomorrow, Sudan the next day and they’ll come slaughter my family and take my home. I have no choice,” Abdallah said.

A young Libyan soldier

Abdallah’s son Hamdan, who was a soldier killed by an ISIL suicide attack in 2014.

He predicts there are only a few hundred ISIL fighters left in Sirte, but knows the final battle will be dangerous. Knowing the family has already suffered loss, he hides his unease.

Abdallah is not alone. Libyans are preparing for the holiday but everyone here knows: once the dishes are cleared and put away, the fighting resumes.