Results tagged “Libya”
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Libya is edging closer to chaos as two prime ministers are now competing for legitimacy. The Philippines joined the list of countries that have urged their nationals to leave Libya. A security official who had tried to mediate with Ansar al Sharia was found murdered in Benghazi. Benina airport in Benghazi will remain closed until at least June 1.
Airstrikes by General Haftar's forces hit Islamist targets in Benghazi, including a February 17 militia base and an Ansar al Sharia base in Gwarsha; military operations by Haftar's forces are ongoing in the city. Ansar al Sharia's Benghazi commander, Mohammed Al-Zahawi, called Haftar's Dignity Campaign a "war against Islam" and said Ansar al Sharia would decide when it ended. A policeman was gunned down in Derna. The US warned its citizens to leave Libya immediately and has reduced staff at the embassy to the minimum.
Mohamed Zahawi, the head of Ansar al Sharia's Benghazi brigade, warned the US against intervening in Libya on the side of Haftar Khalifa's forces. The EU's envoy said terrorist groups in the east, particularly Ansar al Sharia, pose a threat that extends beyond Libya's borders. Haftar's forces said they destroyed Islamist weapons stockpiles in Sidi Faraj in Benghazi but that Ansar al Sharia has regrouped in the city. Three Saiqa special forces members and a student are missing in Benghazi after three kidnappings on May 23. The severed head of a student who had challenged the Islamic Army in Derna was found in a mosque. A kidnapped Libyan diplomat was released in Derna after a ransom was paid. The GNC asked caretaker Prime Minister al Thinni to remain in office, after the Justice Ministry said the election of Prime Minister Maetig was invalid. Assailants fired grenades at Maetig's home last night. A group called Ajnad al-Khilafah claimed a May 25 car bombing outside the Tobruk military base and warned of further attacks against supporters of Hafter's campaign, saying "the fields of jihad experienced us in the East and the West."
Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan National Army, called newly-elected Prime Minister Meitig "illegitimate" and said parliamentary elections should be postponed for at least three months while LNA forces rid the country of terrorists. Haftar's forces are conducting reconnaissance over Derna, looking for Islamist militants, including Ansar al Sharia. Benghazi's Benina airport closed after a rocket attack, and nearby Beida airport, citing security concerns, urged airlines to prevent non-Libyans from boarding international flights to Beida. A Benghazi newspaper editor who had recently interviewed Haftar was murdered. Gunmen killed a Salafist imam in Benghazi on May 23. Classes at a Benghazi college were suspended after gunmen fired at a bus carrying female students. Bank robberies are leading to threatened bank closures in Libya.
A missile hit a building in Benghazi, injuring 21 Egyptians. The government demanded that the Libya Central Shield, Qaaqaa brigade, and Sawaiq brigade all leave Tripoli. Hundreds of demonstrators turned out in Tripoli and Benghazi in support of General Haftar's "Dignity" operation. Libya's Grand Mufti issued a statement calling Haftar's campaign against Ansar al Sharia and other Islamist militias "horrible" and "a coup." The International Criminal Court demanded the handover of Saif al Islam, the son of former dictator Muammar Ghaddafi, on the grounds that he could not receive a fair trial in Libya.
Ansar al Sharia vowed to defend "our city [Benghazi] and our land," claiming that the assault by General Haftar's forces was "a war against ... Islam orchestrated by the United States and its Arab allies." Libya's Interior Ministry and the country's UN ambassador added their backing to Haftar's forces. Four large explosions were heard as missiles hit Tripoli residential areas. The women's unit at a Derna hospital was attacked. The Dahra oilfield pipeline was set on fire. Gunmen tried to assassinate Libya's naval commander. The Libyan Revolutionaries Operations Room told its forces to desert the army and not to support General Haftar.
Wanis Bukhamada, the head of special forces in Benghazi, said his forces are allied with General Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army in fighting against Islamists; commanders of the Cyrenaenica federalists and the Tobruk air force base made similar statements. Haftar's forces claimed to have suspended the GNC. The Islamist-leaning GNC head Nouri Abu Sahmein ordered hardline Islamist forces to Tripoli to fight Haftar's forces. The al Qaeda-linked Lions of Monotheism group vowed to help Ansar al Sharia battle Haftar's forces. A 40-kilogram bomb was found near Benghazi's Benina airport. Saudi Arabia pulled its diplomatic staff from Tripoli, where fighting has spread. Authorities deported 161 Egyptians with fake entry visas.