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Libyan conflict news and discussion

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LNA Announces Downing Turkish Drone in Tripoli Battles
Sunday, 2 June, 2019

GNA forces during a clash with LNA forces in al-Swani area in Tripoli on Saturday, June 1, 2019 (AFP)

Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud

Marshal Khalifa Haftar-led Libyan National Army (LNA) announced Saturday downing a Turkish drone south of the country’s capital, Tripoli.

“The defenses of the Libyan Arab armed forces intercepted and hit a Turkish UCAV after it indiscriminately bombed neighborhoods and safe residential areas in the town of Gharyan,” the army’s media office said in a short press release.

Operation Dignity’s Chamber accused Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) of imposing a siege on its areas where the army forces have access to humanitarian, food and medical needs.

It issued a statement on Friday announcing the necessary quantities were provided to meet the needs of these areas’ residents.

Sarraj forces, participating in the operation Borkan al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage), announced its progress in the airport and Yarmouk outskirts after the heavy artillery targeted LNA sites.

Spokesman for the Libyan army Colonel Mohammed Qannouno said the army’s military operations are progressing according to plan, and forces are gaining ground in all battlefronts.

The recent air strikes on the military sites in Gharyan were rigorous, accurate, and painful for Haftar’s forces, Qannouno explained.

The Libyan army has launched a large-scale attack on most fronts, in preparation for the decisive battle, according to the media office of the Volcano of Rage operation.

 

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Libyan National Army Denies Losing Positions in Southern Tripoli
Monday, 3 June, 2019

Forces loyal to the Libyan National Army. (AFP)

Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud

The Libyan National Army (LNA) denied claims that it had lost some positions in southern Tripoli, vowing that its operation against the capital was ongoing.

LNA officer Fawzi al-Mansoury told Asharq Al-Awsat that the army thwarted on Saturday night a fierce attack by forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez al-Sarraj in the Ain Zara region.

The seven-hour clashes left at least 30 members of the pro-Sarraj militias dead. Only six LNA members were killed and 17 wounded, he added.

He said that this was the second fiercest battle yet in the operation on Tripoli.

The offensive was launched by the LNA on April 4 and aims to cleanse the capital of terrorist and criminal gangs.

The fiercest battle took place some two weeks ago and left 52 militants dead, revealed Mansoury.

“It is not true that we have lost any of the positions we have captured,” he went on to say. “The LNA is not on the verge of defeat on any of the fronts.”

Moreover, he attributed the relative calm witnessed on Sunday to the “exhaustion of the enemy, whose forces were depleted” after hours of heavy fighting.

“They are not a regular army, whose forces can regroup easily,” he explained.

Another officer, Idris Madi denied that a ceasefire was in place in southern Tripoli.

The operations against the Tripoli militias are ongoing, he stressed.

“The general command has the power to declare a ceasefire, not Idris Madi,” he said.

The LNA is fighting the pro-GNA forces in seven fronts in southern and southwestern Tripoli, including Ain Zara and the Salaheddine regions.

On the opposite end, the GNA force claimed that they had made advances on the LNA in the Ain Zara and Salaheddine fronts.

They also claimed to have shot down in southern Tripoli a drone manufactured by the United Arab Emirates and that was operated by the LNA.

The LNA denied the allegations, accusing the GNA of fabricating images of the drone.

 

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Eighteen wounded in Libya military unit explosion
Written by Reuters -
3rd Jun 2019

At least 18 people were wounded in two car bomb explosions at a military unit in Libya’s eastern coastal city Derna, sending black smoke into the sky, a medical source and residents told Reuters.

Residents said the car bombs targeted the Bulahati military unit part of the eastern forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the city centre.
“We heard the first explosion, but we thought it was fireworks, then we heard the second,” a resident told Reuters.

“We found people around Bulahati and there was black smoke in the sky,” another added. “We then discovered it was car bombs.”

Derna, once a jihadist bastion, is about 292 km from Libya’s Benghazi and was declared to be under the complete control of Khalifa Haftar’s LNA in June 2018.

 

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Int’l, Local Discontent With Targeting Field Hospitals in Tripoli
9 June, 2019

Ambulances, paramedics, and security officers at the scene of an attack outside the Libyan foreign ministry headquarters in the capital Tripoli. AFP

Cairo- Jamal Jawhar

The World Health Organization (WHO) office in Libya condemned the bombing of field hospitals by clashing parties during the ongoing battle since the 4th of April in the south of Tripoli between the Libyan National Army and forces of the National Accord Government.

The WHO condemned the attacks on two field hospitals in Al-Swani area and Ein Zara.

"The shelling of the field hospital in Al-Swani area resulted in the injury of a doctor and two paramedics," WHO confirmed in a statement on Twitter. Yet, no information was released regarding the amount of damage caused to Ein Zara hospital.

It stressed that the armed conflict is threatening the health care system in Tripoli, renewing its call that medical personnel should not be targeted by military attacks.

In the same context, the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) denounced targeting the two field hospitals, saying that medical field personnel have become a direct target to armed conflicts.

The NHRC called on the International Criminal Court and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to open an independent investigation into all crimes committed against civilians and staff in the medical and health sector.

The NHRC has also called on all armed conflict parties to respect the humanitarian work mission of ambulance and emergency teams, reiterating that all parties should comply with their legal and humanitarian obligations and avoid any dangerous violations against civilians including not targeting residential areas or taking shelter there.

 

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Int’l, Local Discontent With Targeting Field Hospitals in Tripoli
9 June, 2019

Ambulances, paramedics, and security officers at the scene of an attack outside the Libyan foreign ministry headquarters in the capital Tripoli. AFP

Cairo- Jamal Jawhar

The World Health Organization (WHO) office in Libya condemned the bombing of field hospitals by clashing parties during the ongoing battle since the 4th of April in the south of Tripoli between the Libyan National Army and forces of the National Accord Government.

The WHO condemned the attacks on two field hospitals in Al-Swani area and Ein Zara.

"The shelling of the field hospital in Al-Swani area resulted in the injury of a doctor and two paramedics," WHO confirmed in a statement on Twitter. Yet, no information was released regarding the amount of damage caused to Ein Zara hospital.

It stressed that the armed conflict is threatening the health care system in Tripoli, renewing its call that medical personnel should not be targeted by military attacks.

In the same context, the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) denounced targeting the two field hospitals, saying that medical field personnel have become a direct target to armed conflicts.

The NHRC called on the International Criminal Court and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to open an independent investigation into all crimes committed against civilians and staff in the medical and health sector.

The NHRC has also called on all armed conflict parties to respect the humanitarian work mission of ambulance and emergency teams, reiterating that all parties should comply with their legal and humanitarian obligations and avoid any dangerous violations against civilians including not targeting residential areas or taking shelter there.

 

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Revealing Identity of US Mercenary Puts Libya’s GNA in Hot Water
Thursday, 27 June, 2019

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Jamie Sponaugle


View attachment 8602
Prime Minister of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj (REUTERS/Hani Amara)

Cairo - Jamal Jawhar

A report by The Washington Post revealing the identity of the foreign pilot, whose aircraft was downed by the Libyan National Army on May 7, has sparked controversy in Libya.

The controversy comes amid accusations against Fayez al-Sarraj's Government of National Accord (GNA) of using mercenaries in the battle for the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

The newspaper had quoted US officials as saying that an American Air Force veteran was freed after a six-week detention, noting that he was accused of acting as a mercenary in Libya.

A Libyan official slammed GNA’s attempt to use foreign fighters in Tripoli’s battle.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that both parties need to stop resorting to foreign aid in internal battles.

Jamie Sponaugle, a 31-year-old Florida man, was piloting a Mirage F1 combat jet near Tripoli when his plane went down. He had long worked at Libya’s air academy, based in the city of Misrata, the Post said.

In images released by the LNA shortly after the incident, Sponaugle was seen bloodied and receiving medical treatment from LNA forces after his aircraft went down.

Video that appeared on social media showed him identifying himself as a Portuguese national named Jimmy Rees and saying he was in Libya under a civilian contract focused on “destroying bridges and roads.”

The apparent involvement of an American military veteran in the battle for Tripoli between the LNA and the GNA, illustrates the complexity of a long-simmering conflict that has emerged as a major global proxy war involving illicit arms and dueling accusations of mercenary use.

Meanwhile, Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Sayala discussed Wednesday with his Chinese counterpart the situation in Tripoli.

According to the statement released by GNA’s foreign ministry, Wang Yi stressed the importance of resuming dialogue to solve the Libyan crisis.

Yi noted that his country supports Libya’s unity and stability, and rejects any foreign intervention in its affairs.

He pointed out that China wants its companies to participate in Libya’s reconstruction.

 

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U.S. Supreme Court to mull punitive damages against Sudan over embassy bombings
June 28, 2019
Andrew Chung

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FILE PHOTO: Students walk up the steps during a visit to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a bid to reinstate $4.3 billion in punitive damages against Sudan in a lawsuit accusing it of complicity in the 1998 al Qaeda bombings of two U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.

The justices took up an appeal by hundreds of people hurt and relatives of people killed in the bombings as they seek to reinstate the punitive damages that a lower court in 2017 ruled could not be levied against Sudan in addition to about $6 billion in compensatory damages imposed in the litigation.

Twelve Americans were among the dead in the Aug. 7, 1998, attacks, with thousands of other people wounded.

The damages were imposed by default because for most of the litigation Sudan did not appear before a lower court to defend itself against allegations that it harbored and provided support to the Islamist militant group al Qaeda, which led to the bombings.

The truck bombs that detonated outside the embassies in Kenya’s capital Nairobi as well as Dar es Salaam, Tanzania marked the first large-scale al Qaeda attack. Three years later, on Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaeda operatives crashed hijacked planes into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon outside Washington and a Pennsylvania field, killing nearly 3,000 people.

The plaintiffs sued in federal court in Washington under the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which generally bars claims against foreign countries except those designated by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism, as Sudan has been since 1993. Other claims were made under local District of Columbia law.

After a first lawsuit over the embassy bombings was filed in 2001, six others followed involving more than 700 plaintiffs who were killed or injured in the attacks, or are family members of the victims.

A federal judge found Sudan liable and ordered it to pay $10.2 billion, including $4.3 in punitive damages, to the plaintiffs. In 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld Sudan’s liability, but ruled that a 2008 change in the law allowing for punitive damages was enacted after the bombings occurred and cannot be applied retroactively.

President Donald Trump’s administration urged the Supreme Court to hear the case and reinstate the punitive damages award.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case during its next term, which begins in October, with a ruling due before June 2020.

The court in March prevented American sailors who had accused Sudan of complicity in the 2000 al Qaeda bombing of the Navy destroyer USS Cole that killed 17 sailors from collecting damages.

Besides lawsuits over the embassy bombings, a number of defendants have been convicted in U.S. criminal courts in connection with the attacks.

Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham

 

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Haftar Orders Strikes on Turkish Targets in Libyan Territories
Saturday, 29 June, 2019

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Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar. (Reuters)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar ordered on Friday strikes against Turkish ships anchored in Libya’s territorial waters in retaliation to Ankara’s flagrant offensive.

He also ordered attacks against “strategic Turkish targets” in Libyan territories, which includes companies, centers and projects.

LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari confirmed that air forces were given orders to attack ships and boats within Libya’s territorial waters.

All flights to and from Turkey have been halted and any Turkish national in Libya will be arrested, he revealed.

 

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Erdogan Says Turkey Will Take ‘Necessary Measures’ in Response to Haftar’s Threats
Sunday, 30 June, 2019


Fire in Tajoura near Tripoli after being hit by a rocket attack on Saturday, June 29, 2019 (AFP)

Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud

Head of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced Saturday waging war against Turkish assets on Libyan territories, speaking of a “brutal Turkish invasion” on his country.

In an official response to Haftar’s threats, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that his country will take “necessary measures.”

In a press conference on the sidelines of G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, Erdogan said he hasn’t heard about this decision.

“If there is an order like this from Haftar, my colleagues will study (it). We have already taken the necessary measures regarding this anyway, and after this, we will take much more different measures,” he said.

Haftar ordered on Friday strikes against Turkish ships anchored in Libya’s territorial waters in retaliation to Ankara’s flagrant offensive.

Benghazi’s Benina Airport, which is under Haftar forces’ control, canceled all flights to and from Turkey’s Istanbul, demanding passengers there to cancel their Istanbul-Benghazi tickets and book another Istanbul-Damascus-Benghazi ticket.

Eastern Libyan forces loyal to Haftar will ban any commercial flights from Libya to Turkey and Turkish ships from docking in the country, LNA Spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said.

Any aircraft arriving from Turkey attempting to land in the capital Tripoli would be treated as hostile, said Mismari, adding that the same would apply to Turkish ships docking at Libyan ports.

“Turkish strategic sites, companies and projects belonging to the Turkish state (in Libya) are considered legitimate targets by the armed forces,” he noted.

However, Fayez al-Sarraj’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) said, in return, that it will continue to deal with Turkey.

Undersecretary of the Tripoli-based GNA’s Ministry of Transport said air traffic from Misrata and Mitiga to Turkey “will not be affected by LNA’s threats.”

Meanwhile, Mismari said his forces had lost 43 soldiers in the battle over the town of Gharyan, which was taken by GNA forces on Wednesday.

Mesmari accused Ankara of “directly” helping GNA forces “with its soldiers, planes and ships.”

The LNA, which holds eastern Libya and much of the country's south, seized Gharyan two days before launching its offensive on Tripoli in early April.

 

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Airstrike hits migrant detention center in Libya, 40 killed
By RAMI MUSA and SAMY MAGDY
10 minutes ago
03 July 2019

View attachment 8971
Libyan Red Crescent workers recover migrants bodies after an airstrike at a detention center in Tajoura, east of Tripoli Wednesday, July 3, 2019. An airstrike hit the detention center for migrants early Wednesday in the Libyan capital. (AP Photo/Hazem Ahmed)

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — An airstrike hit a detention center for migrants in the Libyan capital early Wednesday, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens, officials in the country’s U.N.-supported government said.

The airstrike raises further concerns about the European Union’s policy of partnering with Libyan militias to prevent migrants from crossing the Mediterranean, which often leaves them at the mercy of brutal traffickers or stranded in squalid detention centers near the front lines.

It could also lead to greater Western pressure on Khalifa Hifter, a Libyan general whose forces launched an offensive on Tripoli in April. The Tripoli-based government blamed his self-styled Libyan National Army for the airstrike and called for the U.N. support mission in Libya to establish a fact-finding committee to investigate.

A spokesman for Hifter’s forces did not immediately answer phone calls and messages seeking comment. Local media reported the LNA had launched airstrikes against a militia camp near the detention center.

The airstrike targeting the detention center in Tripoli’s Tajoura neighborhood also wounded 35 migrants, according to the Interior Ministry in Tripoli. Health Ministry spokesman Malek Merset posted photos of migrants being taken in ambulances to hospitals. He had earlier said that 80 were wounded.


Footage circulating online and said to be from inside the migrant detention center showed blood and body parts mixed with rubble and migrants’ belongings.
The airstrike hit a workshop housing weapons and vehicles and an adjacent hangar where around 150 migrants were being held, mostly Sudanese and Moroccans, according to two migrants who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

The migrants said three or four survived unharmed and about 20 were wounded. They said the remainder were killed, indicating the final death toll could be much higher.
The U.N. refugee agency in Libya condemned the airstrike on the detention center, which houses a total of 616 migrants and refugees, and called for an immediate end to efforts to return migrants to Libya.

UNHCR spokesman Charlie Yaxley noted that the agency had warned less than two months ago that anyone inside the Tajoura detention center was at risk of being caught in the fighting around Tripoli. Then, an airstrike that hit nearby wounded two migrants. Yaxley said UNHCR is sending medical teams to the site after the latest airstrike.

The head of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, also condemned the strike. He called for an independent investigation and said those responsible for the “horrific crime” should be held to account.

The LNA launched an offensive against the weak Tripoli-based government in April. Hifter’s forces control much of Libya’s east and south but were dealt a significant blow last week when militias allied with the Tripoli government reclaimed the strategic town of Gharyan, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the capital. Gharyan had been a key LNA supply route.

Many camps for militias loosely allied with the U.N.-supported government are in Tajoura, east of the city center, and Hifter’s forces have targeted such camps with airstrikes in recent weeks. The LNA said Monday it had begun an air campaign on rival forces in Tripoli after it lost control of Gharyan.

His forces include the remnants of Gadhafi’s army as well as tribal fighters and ultra-conservative Islamists known as Salafists. They appear more like a regular army than their adversaries, with uniforms and a clear chain of command.

Hifter’s forces boast MiG fighter jets supplied by neighboring Egypt, as well as drones, attack helicopters and mine-resistant vehicles. It was not immediately clear what munitions were used in the airstrike early Wednesday.

Oded Berkowitz, a security analyst focused on the Libyan conflict, said Hifter’s LNA flies “a handful of obsolete aircraft” that are “in poor condition.” He said it has received spare parts from Egypt and possibly Russia, as well as decommissioned aircraft from both countries.

“Egypt and the UAE have been conducting air operations on behalf of the LNA, but there are no indications that the UAE transferred aircraft to the LNA,” he said.
The fighting for Tripoli has threatened to plunge Libya into another bout of violence on the scale of the 2011 conflict that ousted longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi and led to his death.

Hifter says he is determined to restore stability to the North African country. He is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia while his rivals, mainly Islamists, are supported by Turkey and Qatar.

His campaign against Islamic militants across Libya since 2014 won him growing international support from world leaders who say they are concerned that Libya has turned into a haven for armed groups and a major conduit for migrants bound for Europe.

His opponents, however, view him as an aspiring autocrat and fear a return to one-man rule.

At least 6,000 migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and other nations are locked in dozens of detention facilities in Libya that are run by militias accused of torture and other abuses. Most of the migrants were apprehended by European Union-funded and -trained Libyan coast guards while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.

The detention centers have limited food and other supplies for the migrants, who made often-arduous journeys at the mercy of abusive traffickers who hold them for ransom money from families back home.

The U.N. refugee agency has said that more than 3,000 migrants are in danger because they are held in detention centers close to the front lines between Hifter’s forces and the militias allied with the Tripoli government.

Libya became a major crossing point for migrants to Europe after the 2011 ouster and killing of Gadhafi, when the North African nation was thrown into chaos, armed militias proliferated and central authority fell apart.
___
Magdy reported from Cairo. Associated Press writer Maggie Michael in Cairo contributed.
 

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LNA: Sarraj Seeking Weapons from Turkey to Compensate Militia Losses
7 July, 2019

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In this photo taken on July 5, 2019, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting in Istanbul. (AP)

Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud

The Libyan National Army (LNA) announced that has bolstered its forces that are taking part in the military operations to cleanse Tripoli from terrorist and criminal gangs that are allied to Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA).

Sarraj was, meanwhile, in Istanbul where he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A source from the LNA told Asharq Al-Awsat that Sarraj sought during his surprise trip on Friday to “compensate for the major losses incurred by his militias during recent battles.”

He therefore, sought more Turkish military support.

Erdogan called during his meeting with Sarraj on the LNA to end its “illegitimate” attacks against Tripoli.

He made his call two days after the LNA announced that it had destroyed the main control room for Turkish drones that are operated from the military section of Tripoli’s Mitiga airport.

A statement from Sarraj’s office said he discussed with Erdogan the developments in Libya and regional affairs, as well as opportunities for cooperation between their countries.

He also voiced his appreciation for Turkey’s opposition to the offensive against Tripoli and its keenness on ensuring the success of the political settlement.

Separately, commander of the LNA’s western operations, Abdul Salam al-Hassi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the morale of the army was “more than excellent.”

“You will hear good news within the next two days,” he revealed.

On Turkey’s support for pro-Sarraj forces, he remarked: “We have so far destroyed four Turkish drones. Earlier this week, our defenses downed another jet and its pilot was killed.”

“We reign supreme over Tripoli’s airspace,” he stressed.

“We are ready for all possibilities and we will confront any foreign intervention on the ground, even from the Ottoman Turk himself,” Hassi said in reference to Erdogan. “We are protecting our country, not assaulting anyone. This flagrant Turkish meddling does not require evidence.”

 

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France Says Missiles Found in Libya Were ‘Unusable’
10 July, 2019
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Javelin anti-tank missiles found south of Tripoli. Reuters

Asharq Al-Awsat

France said on Wednesday anti-tank missiles it bought from the United States and were later found in a base were never intended for sale or transfer to any party to Libya's conflict.

The Defense Ministry said the US-made Javelin missiles were intended for the "self-protection of a French military unit deployed to carry out intelligence and counter-terrorism operations".

"Damaged and unusable, the armaments were being temporarily stocked at a depot ahead of their destruction," the ministry said in a statement.

The cache of four Javelin anti-tank missiles were discovered by forces loyal to the Government of National Accord led by Fayez al-Sarraj in Gheryan, in the mountains south of Tripoli, on June 26, the New York Times earlier reported.

 

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U.S. missiles, sold to France, found in rebel hands in Libya
July 10, 2019
By Nicholas Sakelaris

View attachment 9312
U.S. Marines fire a FGM-148 Javelin missile in 2016 during a live-fire exercise at the Novo Selo Training Area in Bulgaria. Four Javelin missiles were found in rebel hands in Libya, French officials said. File Photo by U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Michelle Reif/UPI | License Photo

July 10 (UPI) -- Authorities said Wednesday Libyan government forces have discovered multiple U.S.-made Javelin anti-tank missiles in rebel hands, prompting new concern about covert and illegal arm sales.

The French military, which bought the missiles from the United States, said it wasn't sure how the weapons ended up under insurgent control in Libya. French officials denied selling them to opposition Gen. Khalifa Hifter, who's seeking to overthrow the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli.

Selling weapons to rebels in Libya would violate the U.S.-France agreement and a U.N. arms embargo.

Four of the missiles were found in a rebel compound near the front lines of a battle where officials say 1,000 people have died since April, including more than 100 civilians.

The weapons, at a cost of $170,000 each, are sold only to key U.S. allies. Libyan government forces said they recovered the missiles during a raid on a rebel camp in Gheryan, just south of Tripoli. Traced by their serial numbers, the arms were among 260 the Defense Department sold to France in 2010.

France has been a strong supporter to Hifter's movement, and has sent special forces to Libya. An adviser to France's defense minister said the missiles were no longer operational, and were being stored until they could be destroyed. He said a French military unit had controlled the missiles in Libya for "counter-terrorism operations."

Libya has been in a constant state of unrest since a NATO-backed insurgency overthrew Muammar Gaddafi's government in 2011.

 

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Libya's Khalifa Haftar says open to dialogue as fighting drags on

Khalifa Haftar, the renegade Libyan commander whose forces are battling to capture the country's capital from its internationally recognised government, has announced his willingness to open dialogue after repeatedly rejecting United Nations calls for talks.

The statement was issued late on Wednesday, hours after Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj called Haftar a "war criminal" and ruled out peace talks during a speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

"When all is said and done, we need dialogue and we need to sit down," said Haftar. However, dialogue was "not possible so long as terrorist groups and criminal militias control Tripoli," he said, in reference to the myriad of militias that back al-Sarraj's Government of National Accord in the capital.
The move marks a reversal for Haftar, who earlier this month dismissed a UN call for renewed peace talks, saying a military solution was the best way of bringing the conflict to an end.

He also welcomed the special session to be co-chaired by France and Italy in New York later on Thursday, saying that he hoped it would come up with "proposals that serve Libya's interests and at the same time restore security and stability".
Libya has been mired in chaos and violence since an uprising toppled and killed longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

In April, Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to a rival administration in the country's east, launched an offensive to "cleanse" Tripoli of "terrorists". The operation upended UN-led plans to broker a political settlement in Libya.

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US Says it Carried out 3 Airstrikes in Libya in 8 Days

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An F-15E Strike Eagle pilot, assigned to the 336th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, completes his pre-flight checklist in the cockpit prior to takeoff Sept. 10, 2019. The F-15E conducted a Coalition and Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service air strike in the Salah ad Din Province, Iraq, Sept. 10, 2019 in support of Iraqi ground force clearing operations. (Chris Thornbury/U.S. Air Force)
The Associated Press


CAIRO (AP) — The U.S. military says it has carried out an airstrike against the Islamic State group in Libya, the third U.S. airstrike in the North African country in a little over a week.

These U.S. airstrikes over the last eight days are the first in Libya in over a year.

U.S. Africa Command released a statement on Friday saying 17 militants were killed in the strike, launched a day earlier in southwest Libya.

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Heidi Berg, director of intelligence at the command, vowed to continue pursuing IS militants and deny them "safe haven to
coordinate and plan operations" in Libya.

Islamic extremists expanded their reach in Libya amid the chaos following the 2011 uprising, which killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
 

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