Libyan conflict news and discussion

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
UAE says ‘extremist militias’ control Libyan capital
May 02, 2019

A fighter loyal to the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) fires his weapon during clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar south of the capital Tripoli's suburb of Ain Zara, on April 25, 2019. (File/AFP)

Reuters

DUBAI: “Extremist militias” controlling the Libyan capital, Tripoli, were “derailing” the search for a political solution to the country’s crisis, a senior United Arab Emirates (UAE) official said on Thursday.

“Abu Dhabi agreement offered opportunity to support the UN-led process. Meanwhile extremist militias continue to control capital and derail search for political solution,” Anwar Gargash, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said in a Twitter post.
“Priority in Libya (is) to counter extremism/terrorism and support stability in long drawn out crisis,” he added.

Priority in Libya to counter extremism/ terrorism & support stability in long drawn out crisis. Abudhabi agreement offered opportunity to support UN led process. Meanwhile extremist militias continue to control Capital & derail search for political solution.
— د. أنور قرقاش (@AnwarGargash) May 2, 2019
 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
Libya coast guard detains 113 migrants during lull in fighting
May 01, 2019

Libya is a major departure point for many African migrants fleeing poverty and wars. (AFP/File)

Reuters

  • Libya is a popular departure point for many African migrants trying to reach Europe
  • The recent clashes between LNA and GNA forces have slowed down immigration rate through Libya
TRIPOLI/GENEVA: The Libyan coast guard has stopped 113 migrants trying to reach Italy over the past two days, the United Nations said on Wednesday, as boat departures resume following a lull in fighting between rival forces in Libya.

The western Libyan coast is a major departure point for mainly African migrants fleeing conflict and poverty and trying to reach Italy across the Mediterranean Sea with the help of human traffickers.

Smuggling activity had slowed when forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to take the Libyan capital Tripoli, home to the internationally recognized government.

But clashes eased on Tuesday after a massive push by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) force with artillery failed to make inroads toward the center. Shelling audible in central Tripoli was less on Wednesday than on previous days.

The Libyan coast guard stopped two boats on Tuesday and one more on Wednesday carrying a total of 113 migrants and returned them to Zuwara and Khums, two western towns away from the Tripoli frontline, where they were put into detention centers, the UN migration agency IOM said.
These were the only reported boats since April 11 when 19 migrants were stopped by the coast guard and returned to Khums, according to IOM.
The Libyan coast guard could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday.

Human rights groups have accused armed groups and members of the coast guard of being involved in human trafficking.

Last week Vincent Cochetel, special envoy of the UN refugee agency UNHCR for the situation in the central Mediterranean, tweeted: “It is remarkable to note that in spite of the war in Tripoli no boats with migrants & refugees are leaving. The militias known for their involvement in human trafficking are too busy fighting for their survival.”

Officials have been accused in the past of mistreating detainees, who are being held in their thousands as part of European-backed efforts to curb smuggling.

According to one UN report last December, migrants and refugees in Libya suffer a “terrible litany of violations” including unlawful killings, torture, gang rape and slavery by a combination of state officials, armed groups and traffickers.

Human rights groups have also accused the European Union of complicity in the abuse as Italy and France have provided boats for the coast guard to step up patrols. That move has helped to reduce migrant departures.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
UN rights chief: Libya fighting endangers thousands of lives
30 April 2019

Michelle Bachelet expressed her “grave concern” about thousands of civilian men, women and children stuck in conflict-hit areas of Tripoli. (File photo: AFP)


  • Michelle Bachelet expressed her “grave concern” about thousands of civilian men, women and children stuck in conflict-hit areas of Tripoli
GENEVA: The UN human rights chief says thousands of lives are at risk in parts of conflict-ridden Libya, decrying an escalation of attacks in residential areas with artillery, rockets and airstrikes.

Michelle Bachelet’s office highlighted her “grave concern” about thousands of civilian men, women and children stuck in conflict-hit areas of Tripoli, the capital, in a statement Tuesday.

She also expressed concerns about some 3,350 migrants and refugees held in detention centers near the conflict zones. She pointed to reports of food and water shortages that some face.

The statement said some “are reportedly being forced to work for militias controlling their detention centers.”

Bachelet called for efforts to allow trapped civilians to leave conflict areas, and urged an immediate cease-fire and a resumption of political talks.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
Fierce Clashes Force Displacement of 42,000 Libyans in Tripoli
Thursday, 2 May, 2019


UNHCR staff distribute relief items to displaced families in Misrata, Libya. - UNHCR

Cairo – Jamal Johar

With violent clashes forcing Libyans to flee southern districts in the capital, Tripoli, local and international calls for their safe evacuation have gotten even louder as women, seniors and children are put under the threat of indiscriminate and brutal shelling.

Humanitarian relief staffers helping locals exit safely from high-conflict zones such as Khallet Alforjan via escape routes like Wadi Alrabie Rd. and Qaser Bin Ghashir Rd. But, despite efforts, many remain trapped in their homes due to crossfire.

Many citizens have been advised to restrict themselves to the safety of their basements or locked areas at home and keep away from windows and balconies, where they risk getting shot. They were asked to maintain contact with evacuation teams working to secure their leave.

Indiscriminate shelling and heavy gunfire are causing destruction and displacement, while the number of people affected is rising.

More than 42,000 people, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), have been forced to flee their homes since the conflict began earlier this month.

According to the World Health Organization, 345 people have died including 22 civilians, and another 1,652 are injured.

In an appeal, the UNHCR demanded “unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access to all affected areas and to agree to a temporary humanitarian truce to allow for the provision of emergency services and the safe and voluntary passage of civilians out of conflict-affected areas.”

The international aid body also raised the alarm on the rampant bombardment of civilian neighborhoods resulting in more casualties and further destruction of the city’s infrastructure.

“It is imperative that every effort is taken to ensure that civilians are not being caught in the crossfire, and to spare civilian infrastructure,” it demanded.

Local first responder teams in Al Ajaylat, a small city located some 80 km west of Tripoli, released a joint statement saying they succeeded in delivering badly needed relief aid to 23 displaced families from the embattled capital. They vowed to continue distributing remaining humanitarian relief aid packages provided by the UNHCR on the 250 displaced families in town.


 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
Facing Battle Logjam, Libyan Rivals Shift to Oil, Financial Strategies
Thursday, 02 May, 2019


General Khalifa Haftar, commander in the Libyan National Army (LNA), arrives to attend a meeting for talks over a political deal to help end Libya’s crisis in La Celle-Saint-Cloud near Paris, France, July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Tripol i- Asharq Al-Awsat

With the frontlines around Libya’s contested capital Tripoli stalemated, the two rival factions are bringing oil and money supplies into the firing line of their battle for power.

Khalifa Haftar, chief of the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) forces which are attacking the city, is putting pressure on state oil firm, the National Oil Company (NOC), and its operations in his fiefdom, diplomats and analysts told Reuters.

In response, the sources said that the internationally-recognized government in Tripoli is limiting his access to hard currency.

The moves mark a new turn in a war which started in early April when Haftar, who is allied to a parallel administration in eastern Libya, mounted a campaign to capture Tripoli.

But LNA fighters have been unable to advance into the city center and costs are piling up as ammunition and other supplies need to be brought in from their home base in Benghazi 1,000 km away. This has prompted Haftar to use oil as a strategic asset.

The LNA, insofar, controls areas surrounding most of Libya’s oil infrastructure but it does not benefit directly from oil and gas sales, which go through NOC in Tripoli managing the day-to-day operations.

In recent days, Haftar has met with two executives working for NOC in the east in his base outside Benghazi.

The first was the chairman of NOC subsidiary AGOCO, which produces a third of Libya’s output. Then Haftar met NOC board member Jadallah al-Awakli.

His office released pictures of the meetings showing the general dressed in military uniform.

Asked by Reuters about his meeting, Awakli said oil operations were benefiting from the security provided by the LNA.

“I congratulate the LNA on its victories,” he said.

Another NOC unit in east Libya, Sirte Oil firm, also expressed support for the Tripoli offensive on its website.

The meetings took place days after the LNA sent a warship to Ras Lanuf port — 600 km from the frontlines. At the same time, NOC said soldiers had entered Es Sider port and seized its airstrip. It condemned what it called a “militarization” of oil facilities but did not name the LNA, which controls the area.

LNA officials denied this and said oil ports work normally.

Diplomats and analysts saw the move as a sign that Haftar wants to remind Tripoli that he can stop oil exports as a way to pressure Chief of Presidential Council Fayez al-Sarraj into a deal to share oil revenues, should he not win on the battlefield.

The LNA last year tried to export oil bypassing NOC via a parallel entity which has some 500 staff on duty.

“NOC is concerned by renewed attempts to divide the corporation,” a spokesman for NOC Tripoli said.

“It is particularly alarmed by evidence of staff coercion and is attempting to clarify the circumstances behind recent statements in support of the armed assault on Tripoli.”

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
Libyans Link ISIS Leader’s Surprise Appearance to Tripoli Battle
Wednesday, 01 May, 2019


Libyans debate whether Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's video appearance was linked to the battle for Tripoli. (AFP)

Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud

The surprise appearance of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a video recording earlier this week has raised questions in Libya that it may be linked to the ongoing battle for Tripoli.

Baghdadi made his first purported appearance in five years in a propaganda video released Monday, acknowledging ISIS's defeat in the Syrian town of Baghouz while threatening "revenge" attacks.

He also acknowledged that ISIS supporters had attacked the al-Fuqaha town in southern Libya in October. The attack left civilians and Libyan National Army (LNA) members dead.

Libyan MP Ibrahim Abu Bakr told Asharq Al-Awsat that the ISIS leader’s appearance is “damning” evidence that the LNA operation against Tripoli was primarily a battle on terrorism.

The LNA, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, had launched its operation to liberate the capital of terrorist and criminal gangs on April 4. It has pitted his forces against militias loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA).

“Baghdadi’s remarks proved that terrorist groups are the main enemy of the LNA,” continued the MP.

A political official disagreed and said that the Tripoli operation was not linked to Baghdadi.

“The security agencies in Tripoli have been countering ISIS militants for years in both Sirte and the capital,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity.

He also noted that just this week an ISIS member was arrested in Tripoli.

Tripoli has been targeted by ISIS in the past, said the official who is close to the Tripoli-based Presidential Council. He referred to the bombing of the foreign minister and higher elections commission headquarters last year that were claimed by ISIS.

MP Saeed Amghib, however, remarked that ISIS has been in control of Tripoli under the guise of various militias.

“The group has taken advantage of the poor conditions there,” he added.

Moreover, he noted that Baghdadi’s appearance at this time reveals that the militias were nearing their demise, saying that he sought to offer them moral support by emerging in his video.

He called on the residents of Tripoli to rally around the LNA to help it quickly capture the capital and counter the terrorist threat.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
Oil prices, Libyan tensions and everyday petrol. How is the EU affected?
By Kate Hope
03/May/2019

Oil prices, Libyan tensions and everyday petrol. How is the EU affected?
REUTERS

Oil prices have recently risen to their highest since November 2018, but they're still fluctuating daily. Why?

The rise is linked to many factors, including U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, OPEC’s supply cuts and the escalating conflict in Libya, where the Libyan National Army (LNA) is at odds with the internationally recognised Libyan government, and both are at odds with various militias.

Brent futures are still exceeding $70 (62€) a barrel, increasing the price by 0.5% at the beginning of April. Since then, the price has kept increasing, coming to $70.58 (€63.27) a barrel today (3 May).

Libya has the largest proven reserves of oil in Africa and in the 70s the country used to produce more than 3 million barrels per day.
In 2017, its oil represented 0.9% of global productions, with the country producing more than 40 million tonnes of oil, or 817.3 thousand barrels a day.

Since 2011, Libya's political environment has had severe effects on the country's oil production, therefore impacting its price worldwide.
Euronews spoke to experts to find out if the conflict will affect oil prices in the future and if the European Union is preparing for such events.

What drives oil prices?
Dr. Mamdouh G. Salameh, an international oil economist and one of the world's leading experts on oil, explains there are many different factors that influence oil prices.

"The major drivers of oil prices are global economic growth, rising global oil demand, China’s accelerating oil demand, technology and geopolitical events affecting production or leading to a disruption of production in one of the major oil-producing nations, or a closure of one of the global oil chokepoints."

Geopolitical events often cause issues over oil access and rising tensions in oil-producing countries like Libya threaten oil supplies and can sometimes cause prices to increase.

This is because access to the country can become difficult, and means of transportation can be disrupted in times of conflict.

"When the civil war started in Libya in 2011, it impacted very adversely on oil prices because it reduced Libya’s production from 1.6 million barrels a day to less than 300,000 barrels a day, thus depriving the global oil market of some 1.3 million barrels a day", says Salameh.

Earlier this year, Khalifa Haftar, the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), took control of the Al-Sharara oilfield situated near Tripoli and stopped its production process.

The field is one of Libya’s biggest, normally producing 315,000 barrels a day - a third of Libya’s global production.

The LNA also took the El-Feel oilfield, meaning they now have control over the most important oilfields in Libya.

Bellow is an illustration of Libya's oil and gas infrastructure where El-Sharara and El-Feel are represented.
Wikimedia

Infrastructure of Libya: oil an gas fields, refineries and pipelinesWikimediaeia Beta

Oil shocks
International events affecting oil prices is not new. In fact, since the 70s, oil prices have been disturbed by a series of 'oil shocks'.

One of the most notorious events that caused an oil crisis is the Gulf War, when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

Oil production decreased massively, causing a substantial price rise. The price more than doubled in the space of four months.

After the Gulf War, oil prices started to decline, and in 1999, they reached their lowest level since 1973.

U.S. Energy Information Administration, Thomson Reuters

According to Salameh. the current situation in Libya is unlikely to cause such a shock or affect oil prices that significantly.
"Currently and for the foreseeable future, Libya’s erratic production will have very limited impact on oil prices since the global oil market has already factored in the possibility of a total collapse of Libya’s production," he says.

What’s the impact on the EU?
The EU is heavily dependent on other countries for oil. It is considered to be a net importer of energy products, meaning it imports more products than it exports.

In 2018, crude oil counted for the highest share of imports of energy products in the EU, with 70% of crude oil imports in the first semester of 2018, according to Eurostat. 28% of oil imports came from Russia, 11% from Norway and 6.7% from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.


Infogram

The EU's dependency on external countries for oil means that any kind of disruption in these countries contains a risk of oil prices to go up.

But EU officials know their reliance on external sources is as a problem. They have prepared themselves for disruptions by diversify their supply sources. This makes the market more secure and allows the EU to become more independent. It also enables the EU to switch supplies quickly in case of disruptions.

"It is a very important issue for the EU economically and geopolitically to find itself dependent on Russian natural gas supplies to the tune of 40% and also on oil imports to the tune of 92%". Dr. Salameh explains.

"There are no short–term solutions to this. Any solutions like diversification of energy sources and increasing reliance on renewable energy particularly solar energy, wind and geothermal energy are long-term", he adds.

Is renewable energy the solution?
Kenueone Pixabay

Renewable energyKenueone Pixabay

Salameh says the EU cannot replace our needs in fossil fuels with renewable energy.

"Unfortunately, renewable energy on its own will never be enough in both the short-term and the long-term to provide the EU with its energy needs. For instance, renewable energy accounted for only 8% of total primary energy that the EU needed in 2018 compared with 37% for oil, 23% for gas, 15% for coal, 10% for nuclear energy and 7% for hydro-electricity."

But EU officials are more optimistic.

Most of the renewable energy the EU uses is produced within Europe. EU officials say that by producing more renewable energy in Europe, we become less dependent on the import of fossil fuel.

The European Commission's effort to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy is part of the clean energy transition. It's aim is to make European member states more sustainable and less reliant on imported fossil fuels.

In the long run, the EU wants to produce its energy locally, whilst still encouraging global production, to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
Tripoli lawmakers reject LNA offensive
by Reuters -
3rd May 2019

Lawmakers loyal to Libya’s UN-backed government denounced an attack on Tripoli by an ally of the United Arab Emirates and defended their record in fighting terrorism, after the Gulf state said “extremist militias” ruled the capital.

They spoke at a meeting in the beleaguered city to challenge the official parliament based in Libya’s east and aligned to UAE ally Khalifa Haftar, in a move further cementing divisions in the oil-producing nation.

Haftar is fighting to capture Tripoli from forces allied to Libya’s internationally recognised government. An official of the Gulf state said the priority in Libya was to counter “extremism/terrorism”.

The UAE, along with Egypt, sees Haftar as a bulwark against Islamist militants in North Africa. A 2017 UN report said the Gulf state provided his Libyan National Army (LNA) with military and logistic support.

The campaign is the biggest military confrontation in Libya since the 2011 toppling of Muammar Gaddafi. Fighting picked up in Tripoli’s southern districts on Wednesday, with shelling audible in city centre, although it was less intense than at the start of the week.

Several lawmakers met in the capital to show opposition to Haftar’s assault, which has all but wrecked UN-backed efforts for a peace deal between rival factions to end eight years of conflict.

“We are here for the rejection of the offensive,” lawmaker Hamouda Siyala told Reuters.

Some parliamentarians appeared incensed by the UAE allegation but did not mention the Gulf state.

“Which terrorism are you speaking about?” asked another lawmaker, Aisha Shalabi, interrupted by people shouting “Allahu Akbar”.

“We fought it in Sirte … if you speak about militias, they are our sons who toppled Gaddafi,” she said, referring to where Islamic State was driven out by Libyan militias.

Libya split in 2014 into rival administrations and the Tripoli conflict has scuppered plans by the United Nations to hold elections to produce a national government and parliament.

“UNITY OF OUR SOIL”

The conflict threatens to unsettle oil supplies, increase migration across the Mediterranean and wreck UN plans for an election to end rivalries.

The internationally recognised parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk, to which lawmakers meeting in Tripoli belong, denounced the session in the capital as illegal.

The HoR has allied itself with Haftar, but some lawmakers from western Libya boycotted the assembly since the last national elections in 2014.
The attendance of parliamentarians was not officially disclosed. Organisers said about 42 lawmakers arrived. Reuters identified 10 in a crowded room.

Sadeq al-Kahiali, who presided, said in an opening speech “we are not here for a division or a coup, but to maintain the unity of our soil and protect Tripoli from the offensive.”

Earlier, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter: “Abu Dhabi agreement offered opportunity to support the UN-led process. Meanwhile extremist militias continue to control capital and derail search for political solution.”

Abu Dhabi, which voiced support for UN peace efforts, last February hosted talks between Prime Minister Fayez Seraj and Haftar, where they agreed a need for national elections.

Since the Tripoli offensive started, 376 people have die in fighting, including 23 civilians, and 1,822 wounded, 79 of them civilians, according to latest UN figures. More than 45,000 people fled their homes.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
Stalemate persists in Tripoli after overnight fighting, more civilians flee
by Reuters -
03 May 2019

Heavy fighting raged overnight in the battle for the Libyan capital Tripoli, with neither faction able to secure gains on the frontlines as an offensive by eastern commander Khalifa Haftar entered its fifth week.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to a parallel administration based in Benghazi, has in the past week brought up more troops and heavy guns to the frontline.

But it has been unable to breach the defences in the city’s southern suburbs of forces loyal to the internationally recognised government in Tripoli.

Libya has been in a state of chaos since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011 after 40 years in power by insurgents backed by NATO air power.

The battle for Tripoli has all but wrecked U.N.-backed efforts for a peace deal between the rival factions, and has disrupted the oil industry of a country that is one of Africa’s largest producers.

ON THE FRONTLINE

Heavy fighting raged from Thursday afternoon until early morning Friday in the area of the former international airport but the frontline has changed little, residents said.

The LNA moved up on one part of the front earlier this week but was repelled by the Tripoli forces, who had built barriers, including shipping containers, on southern roads where tanks and artillery guns are in position.

The Tripoli forces regained some ground but analysts say the threat of the LNA will persist as long as it keep its forward base in Gharyan, about 80 km (50 miles) south of Tripoli.

The town is difficult to take because it lies in mountains that rise from the coastal plain on which Tripoli sits.

The LNA, whose principle supporters include Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, has sent troops and material to Gharayn by road from Haftar’s power base in Benghazi, the main eastern city, or via the central air base in Jufrah, military sources say.

A Tripoli government spokesman said his administration was talking to its ally Turkey to obtain military and civilian help – “anything that is needed to stop the assault”.

In Geneva, the United Nations said that despite the latest clashes, no air strikes or artillery barrages had hit civilians or residential areas. Since the offensive began, 102 civilian casualties had been counted, 23 of them killed, it said.

More than 48,500 people in Tripoli had fled their homes for safer areas, it said, including 6,000 registered in the past 48 hours.

Others remain trapped in conflict zones, where food is running short and the wounded and sick are in need of medical help.

European countries are concerned the fighting could provoke a new flight of refugees and migrants from Libya and elsewhere in Africa across the Mediterranean. Trafficking gangs have used Libya as a hub for their operations.

The latest flare-up also threatens to leave a power vacuum that Islamist militants could exploit.

FRENCH OBJECTIVES

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian meanwhile dismissed accusations by the Tripoli government that Paris was supporting Haftar in his current offensive. France’s interest was to fight terrorism, he said.

“This is our objective in the region,” Le Drian told Le Figaro newspaper.

France also supported the Tripoli government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, Le Drian said in his first public comments since the offensive began.

The United Nations’ Libya envoy has suggested Paris and others were too close to Haftar, and Tripoli has accused France of playing both sides.

France has backed Haftar in his efforts to fight Islamist militants in Libya in the past, including with military support.

Le Drian said he had no inkling that Haftar would launch the offensive on Tripoli despite visiting Benghazi and Tripoli a few days earlier. But he did not disavow Haftar and laid the blame on both sides.

“I realised, contrary to our expectations, that the situation was blocked. Serraj like Haftar was hesitating to cross the hurdle to conclude a (political deal),” he said.

Last month the European Union urged the LNA forces to halt their assault on Tripoli, but its statement was held up by disagreement between France and Italy.

The final version did not mention Haftar directly by name, shifted away from blaming his offensive exclusively for the escalation, and referred to the presence of Islamist militants among the anti-Haftar forces.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
Libya crisis: Islamic State group says it attacked Haftar camp

  • 4 May 2019
Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Haftar, have been making advances

Islamic State group militants say they were behind a Saturday attack on a training camp for the forces of Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Hospital officials said nine people were killed in the attack in Libya's southern city of Sabha.

Gen Haftar's eastern forces took control of key areas in the oil-rich south during a January offensive.

They are now concentrated in the north west, where they are battling for control of the capital, Tripoli.

In a statement posted online, the Islamic State group said it had killed or wounded 16 people in the Sabha attack, as well as freeing inmates from a prison.

A military source confirmed to Reuters that a jail inside the camp had been stormed but gave no further details.

Hamed al-Khaiyali, head of the local municipality, told the news agency that one soldier had been beheaded in the attack, while seven others were "slaughtered" or shot.
Sabha Medical Centre later released a statement putting the death toll at nine.

Gen Haftar has his powerbase in the east of the country where he is allied to one of two rival governments.

He launched an offensive with his Libyan National Army (LNA) on the south in January, saying he wanted to purge the area of "terrorists and criminal groups".

Then last month, Gen Haftar ordered his forces to advance to Tripoli, where they are now embroiled in a battle with fighters allied to the country's

UN-backed and internationally recognised Government of National Accord.
Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj has vowed to defend the capital and has accused Gen Haftar of launching a coup.
Libya has been beset by violence and political instability since long-serving ruler Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
Nine soldiers killed in south Libya attack on Haftar camp
Written by Reuters -
6th May 2019

LNA vehicle outside Tripoli.

Nine soldiers were killed on Saturday in an attack claimed by Islamic State on a training camp belonging to the eastern Libyan forces of Khalifa Haftar, hospital authorities said.

The attack took place in the city of Sebha, located in part of the oil-producing south that is targeted by armed groups looking to exploit a security void.

Haftar has concentrated his forces in the northwest, where they have been embroiled for the past month in a battle for the capital Tripoli with fighters allied to the divided country’s internationally recognised government.

Clashes raged in Tripoli’s southern outskirts throughout the night with the rival forces firing at each other with artillery guns, residents said. No more details were immediately available.

Islamic State claimed the Sebha attack. Its fighters had killed or wounded 16 and freed inmates from a prison, the jihadist group said in a statement posted online.

A military source said a jail inside the attacked Jabril Baba camp had been stormed but gave no details. Sebha hospital put the number of dead at nine, a statement on its website said.

Hamed al-Khaiyali, head of the local municipality, earlier told Reuters one soldier had been beheaded and seven others “slaughtered” or shot. Pictures posted online showed bodies fully covered by blankets.

A source in Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) blamed Islamic State and Chadian fighters for the attack, the latter a term used by the LNA for tribesmen opposing Haftar.

News-gathering in southern Libya is difficult due to the absence of an effective state authority in a region dominated by different armed groups and tribes.

The LNA, which is allied to a parallel government in the east, faced strong opposition from ethnic Tebus during a military campaign it ran in the south at the start of the year.

Sebha – like much of the south and its oilfields – is controlled by the LNA but the force has co-opted local armed groups and tribesmen to control territory.

Such alliances often shift in a country that has been in chaos since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The LNA has moved troops from its southern campaign towards the Tripoli front, also moving in heavy guns in the past week. But it has been unable to breach defences in the city’s southern suburbs.

Islamic State is active in the south to where it retreated after losing its stronghold in the central city of Sirte in December 2016.

There have been several attacks in southern Libya since the Tripoli offensive, among them an assault on the Tamanhint air base outside Sebha and clashes at the El Sharara oilfield, the country’s biggest.

As well as the humanitarian cost, the Libya conflict threatens to disrupt oil supplies, boost migration to Europe and has scuppered a U.N. peace plan to hold elections to produce a unified government and army.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
Libya’s Haftar orders troops to fight harder during Ramadan
Written by Reuters -
6th May 2019


Khalifa Haftar.

Eastern Libyan forces commander Khalifa Haftar urged his troops trying to take Tripoli to battle harder and teach their enemies an even bigger lesson, because the Muslim month of Ramadan that begins on Monday was a month of holy war.

His comments came just hours after the United Nations called for a week-long humanitarian truce following a month of fighting for the capital that has displaced 50,000 people, killed around 400, and badly damaged some southern districts.

Haftar had already defied the United Nations when he launched his Tripoli offensive a month ago on the same day U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was visiting the capital to prepare a national reconciliation conference.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to a parallel government in the east, has not been able to breach the southern defences of Tripoli, which is held by the internationally recognised government.

On an audiotape released by his force’s spokesman, Haftar said Ramadan had not been a reason to halt previous battles when he seized the eastern cities of Benghazi and Derna as he expanded his power and the country collapsed into chaos after the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

“Officers and soldiers in our armed forces and the auxiliary forces, I salute you in this glorious days and urge you with your strength and determination to teach the enemy a greater and bigger lesson than the previous ones, as we’ve always known you to do, till we uproot it from our beloved land,” Haftar said.

He did not mention the U.N. call for a truce.

In a statement earlier on Sunday, the U.N. Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) appealed for a truce starting on Monday morning at 0400 local time to coincide with the beginning of Ramadan.

As the United Nations issued its statement, artillery shelling could be heard coming from southern outskirts of the capital, where the LNA has been tying to breach defences by Tripoli forces.

The renewed conflict threatens to disrupt oil supplies, drive increased migration across the Mediterranean to Europe, and scupper U.N. plans for an election to end rivalries between parallel administrations in Libya’s east and west.

HOLY MONTH

The speech by Haftar, a former Gaddafi general, included religious references to historic campaigns by Muslim forces.

“Our battles against terrorism in Benghazi and Derna did not stop in the holy month of Ramadan but we increased our determination and strength in this holy month,” he said.

Emad Badi, a Libya researcher, said Haftar might be trying to reach out to ultra-conservative Salafis. They are among his forces, but also have a presence in Tripoli.

Haftar’s LNA seized the sparsely populated but oil-rich south of the country earlier this year before turning on Tripoli last month.

In his speech on Sunday, Haftar again framed his battle as counterterrorism. His main backers are the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which see him as bulwark against Islamist militants and chaos.

He has also won support from France, whose main objective in Libya is to fight terrorism, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Le Figaro newspaper last week, while denying Paris backed Haftar’s offensive on Tripoli.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
NOC wants safe return of oil union leader
Written by Reuters -
6th May 2019


Es Sider oil terminal.

Libyan state oil firm NOC called for the safe return of the national head of the oil workers’ labour union, Saad Dinar, abducted by an armed group on Monday near Benghazi.

“NOC is gravely concerned about Mr Dinar’s wellbeing. He has not been seen since his seizure,” NOC said in a statement. Dinar is also an NOC staff member.

NOC is in Tripoli, home to the internationally recognised government. Benghazi is controlled by the forces of commander Khalifa Haftar, who last month launched an offensive to take the capital.

Reuters was unable to reach eastern authorities for comment.

A source close to Dinar’s family said he was driven to an unknown location by people who seized him at around midnight on April 29 near his home in Suluq, close to Benghazi.

Relations between NOC, which handles oil and gas exports for the whole of Libya, and Haftar’s forces deteriorated last week.

NOC said several Libyan warships used oil port Ras Lanuf and military personnel entered nearby Es Sider terminal. It did not say who was responsible, but both terminals, Libya’s biggest oil export ports, are controlled by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) force.

The LNA said last week it sent a warship to Ras Lanuf on a “training mission”.

A spokesman for NOC told Reuters the firm was “concerned by renewed attempts to divide the corporation” and “particularly alarmed by evidence of staff coercion.”

The statement came after several NOC units and executives in the east expressed support for Haftar’s Tripoli offensive.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
Tripoli deaths reach 187
Written by Reuters -
6th May 2019


Tripoli government fighters.

Recent fighting in southern Tripoli killed 187 and wounded 1,157, a spokesman for the ministry of health said.

Government transferred a number of wounded to Tunisia, Turkey, Italy and Ukraine for medical treatment, said Tarek al-Hamshiri, head of government forces’ Field Medical Centre.

The offensive launched by eastern Libya-based military commander Khalifa Haftar to control Tripoli is in its fifth week.

The UN-backed government of national accord (GNA) in Tripoli issued a statement recognising 710 fighters killed in Libya’s civil war in 2014 as “martyrs”, in a move a Tripoli government source said was aimed at winning the backing of forces in nearby Zintan in the fight against Haftar.

“The GNA took this step for support from the mountain town Zintan to strengthen its forces in confronting the eastern forces deployed by Haftar,” the government source said.

 

Eagle1

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,396
Reactions
2,419 237
‘Portuguese pilot’ shot down in Mirage jet by General Haftar’s forces in Libya – reports
07 May, 2019

‘Portuguese pilot’ shot down in Mirage jet by General Haftar’s forces in Libya – reports

FILE PHOTO: Libyan Air Force Mirage F1 fighter jets ©
Reuters / Darrin Zammit Lupi


The pilot of a fighter jet shot down south of Tripoli by the Libyan National Army is allegedly a Portuguese fighting in Libya as a “mercenary,” Haftar’s forces claim, as photos of the captured pilot covered in blood emerge online.

Photos posted on social media show a bloodied man in military-style clothes without any distinctive badges surrounded by forces said to be loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar of the Libyan National Army (LNA).

Citing Haftar’s forces that sent her the photos, the Independent’s Middle East correspondent Bel Trew said the man was a “foreign national” from Portugal. While Trew chose to crop out the man’s face, plenty of uncensored photos have emerged elsewhere from the same scene.
Haftar’s Libyan National Army just sent me photos of a plane crash & a foreign national in pilot clothes with head injuries. LNA says few hours ago they shot down his Mirage F1 fighter jet&he is from Portugal. In this photo he is with LNA commander Maj Gen AbdulSalam Hassi #Libyapic.twitter.com/hldjtxdkVI
— Bel Trew (@Beltrew) May 7, 2019
Local sources report the arrest of a Portuguese mercenary whose plane was shot down by Libyan National Army #Libya#Tripolipic.twitter.com/wAWd6kPtDy
— Vanessa Tomassini (@VanessaTomass) May 7, 2019
The pilot was allegedly captured after his jet was shot down over the Wadi al-Hira area, located south of the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Earlier, there were conflicting reports about his nationality, with some media outlets claiming he was an Italian. The LNA Military Information Division has since claimed he was a “Portuguese mercenary.”
#Libya 🇱🇾: #LNA forces have shot down a #GNA warplane and claim the pilot they captured is Portuguese(!) pic.twitter.com/L0zYrXkJCw
— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) 7 мая 2019 г.
Footage also surfaced on social media showing the pilot giving his alleged name and nationality during questioning. He appeared to claim that his name was “Jimmy Rees,” adding that he was 29-years-old and “from Portugal.”
The Libyan National Army (LNA) captures 29-year-old Jimmy Reiss, a Portuguese mercenary pilot, who was flying a Mirage F1 warplane of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) before it was shot down by LNA this morning.#Libya#LibyaNews#LNA#GNA#Tripolipic.twitter.com/LgSxvNA22R
— The Libyan Address Journal (@LibyanAddressJo) 7 мая 2019 г.
Portuguese MPs in the European Parliament have already reacted to the reports. Ana Maria Gomes, an MEP from the Socialist Party, retweeted some of the photos while asking “which forces the Portuguese man is serving?”
Which forces is this Portuguese man serving? #Libyahttps://t.co/w4sKkW3v5U
— Ana Gomes, MEP (@AnaGomesMEP) 7 мая 2019 г.
Reports say the captured pilot was flying a French-designed Dassault Mirage F1 jet. Libyan forces had 38 of the jets since the late 1970s, and France agreed to modernize the remaining fleet in 2012 after the NATO-backed war toppled Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and threw the country into civil war chaos.

 

Top