Results tagged “Libya”
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After weeks of delay, the new Parliament met today for the first time, in Tobruk, not in Tripoli as the Islamists had demanded. A number of Islamist lawmakers were not present at the meeting, but 158 out of 188 elected members of parliament did attend the Tobruk session, as well as representatives from the UN Security Mission in Libya, the Arab League, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Some clashes between government-allied forces and Islamist militias continued in both Tripoli and Benghazi. A council of tribal elders set out ceasefire conditions for Benghazi, including the demand that both sides lay down arms, quit the city, and submit to Parliament.
Intermittent fighting between the Zintani and Islamist militias continued in Tripoli, and another fuel tank near the airport was set on fire. The UK said it is pulling out its diplomatic staff from Libya and relocating them to Tunis in Tunisia. After thousands demonstrated yesterday in Benghazi against Islamist forces including Ansar al Sharia and the Libya Shield, a council of tribal leaders from eastern Libya called for a ceasefire; one leader warned that Ansar al Sharia is planning to attack the Saiqa Special Forces headquarters at Benina Airbase that was recently forced out of Buatni.
While a large part of Benghazi has fallen to Ansar al Sharia and allies including the Libya Shield and the February 17 Brigade, Operation Dignity vowed to defend a protest tonight against the Islamists. Ansar al Sharia, which claimed to have taken over the city, has destroyed Benghazi's main police station, and no police, army, or special forces troops are visible. The brother of the special forces investigations head was shot dead yesterday. An NGO said fighting in July had killed 253 people in Benghazi and 130 in Tripoli. Planned pro-government demonstrations in Tripoli were sparsely attended. Over 10,000 Libyans fled to Tunisia over the past 24 hours. Operation Dignity forces bombed an Ansar al Sharia base in Adjabiya. Ansar is reportedly taking its wounded fighters to the Adjabiya hospital and then flying the severely wounded to Turkey via Misrata. Some 1,300 Koreans are quitting work at a Sirte power station due to insecurity; Turkish workers told to leave the country by Operation Dignity have recently returned to Sirte. Egyptian aviation authorities raised security precautions to the highest level due to reports that militants may have seized aircraft during the fighting at Tripoli airport and might use them to crash into targets in Egypt.
Fighting resumed in southern Tripoli near the airport between Islamists and Zintani militias defending the airport. The police presence was reportedly scarce in Benghazi, where the Red Crescent collected at least 35 bodies from the Saiqa Special Forces base in Buatni that was taken over by Ansar al Sharia. Last night several hundred demonstrators marched to the Jalaa Hospital in Benghazi and temporary forced the Ansar al Sharia militants guarding it to leave; social media called for a day of protest in Benghazi on Aug. 1 against the Islamists' attempt to take over the city. Turkish nationals have returned to work at a Sirte power station.
Ansar al Sharia reportedly claimed to be in complete control of Benghazi, after taking over the headquarters of the Saiqa Special Forces yesterday. General Khalid Haftar, head of Operation Dignity forces, said the Ansar al Sharia claim is a lie and that the Libyan army controls Benghazi. France closed its embassy in Tripoli and evacuated a number of French and British nationals. Tunisia's foreign minister said up to 6,000 Libyans have fled to Tunisia over the past few days.
Saiqa Special Forces withdrew from its Buatni headquarters in Benghazi following heavy shelling and rocket attacks by Ansar al Sharia and allied Islamist forces. A fighter jet used by Operation Dignity crashed during the fighting but the pilot ejected safely. Saiqa forces claimed to have captured 12 Ansar al Sharia snipers, of whom three were Syrians. Both Ansar al Sharia and Operation Dignity recently claimed to have received new equipment. Former Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur, who was elected to the new House of Representatives, was kidnapped at gunpoint from his home. Tripoli was somewhat calm due to a temporary ceasefire, but fighting is expected to resume as Tebus said they are sending a battalion to the capital to support the Zintanis and Operation Dignity, and Gharian is supporting the Islamist Misratan alliance. The leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the UK, and the US called for the United Nations to try to resolve the crisis.
Islamist fighters fired rockets into a second fuel tank near Tripoli airport, setting it on fire, ignoring calls for a ceasefire from the government as well as international envoys. The government called for international help to extinguish the massive blaze, which is out of control in the capital. Many embassies have closed in Tripoli due to insecurity. British Embassy staff evacuating Tripoli escaped an attempted carjacking yesterday. In Benghazi, fighting between Islamists and government forces allied with Operation Dignity continues; over the past few days, two senior Ansar al Sharia members, Idris Majbre and Ahmed Ali Mohammed Musbah Al Zahawi, brother of Ansar's leader in Derna, Mohammed Al-Zahawi, were killed, and three brothers in the military police have disappeared. US court filings revealed that the Libyan government is paying the legal fees for the defense of senior al Qaeda operative Abu Anas al Libi.
In Benghazi, Islamist fighters from Ansar al Sharia and the February 17 Battalion continued to clash with the forces of Operation Dignity and allied government forces; at least 36 people were killed and 65 wounded in fighting over the past two days. A rocket hit a house in Tripoli, killing 23 Egyptian workers. A Syrian man was killed and three Libyans were injured when an arms depot blew up in Khoms as weapons were being transferred to the Central Shield Brigade in Tripoli. Water, electricity, and fuel shortages are occurring in both Tripoli and Benghazi due to the ongoing clashes. The US evacuated its staff from the embassy in Tripoli yesterday.
In Benghazi, eight people were killed and 19 injured, some critically, in ongoing clashes between Ansar al Sharia and the forces of Operation Dignity, which have been bolstered by Ibrahrim Jadhran's militia as well as the Al-Ahdaf Al-Hayawiya from Tobruk and Beida. Turkey urged its citizens to leave Libya. The Central Bank has been trying to make secret deliveries of cash to banks across the country. Ansar al Sharia Libya released photos of its recent attacks on two Saiqa Special Forces camps in Benghazi; the terror group's commander, Muhammad al Zahawi, appears in the photos.
Following the killing of at least 14 people after Ansar al Sharia attacked a Saiqa Special Forces camp in Benghazi, the Saiqa commander called for reinforcements, urging the government as well as all Libyans to stand up against the "terrorist groups." Ansar al Sharia carried out twin suicide car bomb attacks on Saiqa Camp 319 in Benghazi yesterday. A Grad rocket blamed on Islamist militias hit a fuel tank at Tripoli airport. Oil production has been hampered by insecurity.