Results tagged “Libya”
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Chief of Staff Abdulati Al-Obeidi told Parliament that the Libyan Army is close to collapsing and that he cannot control of it. Despite calls from Parliament and the UN for a ceasefire, clashes between Islamist and government-allied militias continued in Tripoli and Benghazi. Several staff members of a Libyan TV station recently taken over by a Muslim Brotherhood leader quit, citing antigovernment bias in the station's reporting. Despite a warning from Operation Dignity that Benghazi's port would close to prevent the shipment of arms to Islamist forces there, the port was said to be operating normally today.
Operation Dignity forces claimed to have killed 70 Islamist fighters from Ansar al Sharia and the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shoura Council with airstrikes as they advanced towards Benina airbase, and to have captured 17 more. Islamist Misratan fighters reportedly retook Camp 27 outside Tripoli yesterday. Clashes spread from Tripoli west towards Zawiya, the site of a large oil port. Two kidnapped lawmakers were released in Tripoli. One of them, from Benghazi, disappeared after being freed; his son was killed by kidnappers.
Demonstrators in Misrata protested against the new government. The commander of Operation Dignity's air forces confirmed its support of the new government, noting that a number of its jets are based in Tobruk. Prime Minister al Thinni and the head of US Africa Command agreed to try to speed up training of Libyan military forces. The Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council, the extremist coalition that has taken over much of Benghazi, has posted photos of weapons taken at bases they claim to have captured. Irish-Libyan former Syrian rebel commander Mahdi al-Harati was declared the new mayor of Tripoli, after the final results of the May 17 election were announced.
In its first resolution, the House of Representatives ordered an unconditional ceasefire in Tripoli and Benghazi. In Tripoli, a rocket strike killed 18 Sudanese nationals, and firefighters reported progress in getting four fuel tank blazes under control. The Grand Mufti and the former president of the GNC called the new Parliament illegal. About 50,000 Egyptians fled Libya over the past month.
A joint Warshefana and Zinanti force took Camp 27, a military base that had fallen into the hands of Islamists, from the Libya Shield, in an attack that left eight fighters dead and 60 wounded. The joint force yesterday destroyed a base in Janzour used by the Fursan Janzour Brigade, which is allied with the Islamist forces. Suspected Ansar al Sharia militants abducted five TV crew members who had been covering the opening of Parliament in Tobruk. Despite an Islamist boycott of proceedings, lawmakers elected Ageela Salah Issa Gwaider from Guba in eastern Libya as the new head of the House of Representatives. Egypt recently said immediate international intervention may be necessary in Libya as Islamist "statelets" in the east are threatening Egypt's security.
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.