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Posts tagged ‘Rebellious Land of Libya’

Libya’s Haftar visits Egypt ahead of planned attack on Derna

February 12, 2018

The Commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, has been on a visit to Egypt over the last couple of days as part of as what has been referred to as “joint coordination between Egypt and the army leadership in the fight against terrorism”.

According to an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Haftar arrived in Cairo late on Wednesday and held a series of meetings with senior Egyptian officials to discuss the political and military developments in Libya, pointing out that the talks touched on the issue of coordination in the fight against terrorist groups.

“There is coordination at the highest level between the Libyan National Army and the Egyptian authorities in this regard,” he said.

In the meantime, an official source said that “the National Army is in the process of large-scale military operation in the next few days to begin the liberation of the city of Derna,” which is the main stronghold of terrorist groups in eastern Libya, and added that “preparations [for the operation] are nearing completion”.

Haftar’s eastern-based LNA, one of a number of factions that have vied for power in Libya since a 2011 uprising ended Muammar Gaddafi’s four-decade rule, is waging a military campaign against a coalition of militants and ex-rebels known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council (DMSC) that controls Derna.

Attention has shifted to the coastal city after Haftar announced victory in a three-year military campaign against a similar coalition in Benghazi, 350 kilometers to the west, in July last year.

In May, the city was also a target of Egyptian air strikes. Egypt said it was responding to an attack against Coptic Christians on its territory, though that attack was claimed by Daesh.

Haftar, a figure many believe is seeking national power in Libya, has enjoyed strong backing from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, as well as the United Arab Emirates.

Source: Middle East Monitor.



Twin car bombs kill at least 30 in Libya’s Benghazi


BENGHAZI – More than 30 people were dead and dozens wounded after two car bombings outside a mosque frequented by jihadist opponents in Libya’s second city Benghazi, medical officials said Wednesday.

The attack after evening prayers on Tuesday underlined the continued chaos in Libya, which has been wracked by violence and divisions since dictator Moamer Kadhafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.

Benghazi has been relatively calm since military strongman Khalifa Haftar announced the eastern city’s “liberation” from jihadists in July last year after a three-year campaign, but sporadic violence has continued.

The bombers blew up two cars 30 minutes apart outside the mosque in the central neighborhood of Al-Sleimani, according to security officials.

Emergency and security workers who had rushed to the scene were among those killed in the second blast.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the mosque is known to be a base for Salafist groups which fought the jihadists alongside Haftar’s forces.

Mourners gathered outside the mosque on Wednesday, walking through puddles of water stained red with blood. Vehicles in a parking lot outside the mosque were burnt-out and mangled, their windows shattered.

The city’s Al-Jala hospital received 25 dead and 51 wounded, its spokeswoman Fadia al-Barghathi said. The Benghazi Medical Center received nine dead and 36 wounded, spokesman Khalil Gider said.

Ahmad al-Fituri, a security official for Haftar’s forces, was among those killed, military spokesman Milud al-Zwei said.

Medical officials said many of the wounded were in critical condition and the death toll was likely to rise.

– Political turmoil –

Haftar supports an administration based in the east of the country. It declared three days of mourning following the attack.

A UN-backed unity government based in the capital Tripoli, the Government of National Accord (GNA), has struggled to assert its authority outside the west.

The GNA condemned the attack as a “terrorist and cowardly act”.

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) denounced the bombings as “horrific” and warned that “direct or indiscriminate attacks against civilians… constitute war crimes”.

UN efforts to reconcile the rival administrations have produced no concrete result.

Haftar said in late December he would support elections in 2018 to bring the country out of chaos, but suggested he could take measures if efforts for “a peaceful power transition via free and democratic elections were exhausted”.

Haftar’s opponents accuse him of wanting to seize power and establish a military dictatorship, while his supporters have called for him to take control by “popular mandate”.

UN envoy Ghassan Salame presented a plan to the Security Council in September to hold parliamentary and presidential elections this year, but analysts are skeptical they will take place.

Clashes between rival militias are common, with fighting at Tripoli’s airport last week leaving 20 dead and forcing the cancellation of all flights for five days.

The turmoil has stifled efforts to restore oil-rich Libya’s economy and made the country fertile ground for extremists.

The Islamic State group has a significant presence and was in control of coastal city Sirte from late 2014 to late 2016, when the jihadists were pushed out by pro-GNA forces.

People-smugglers have also taken advantage of the chaos to turn the country into a major gateway for migrants heading to Europe.

Source: Middle East Online.


Haftar shows signs he will run in Libyan elections next year

Monday 18 December 2017

Khalifa Haftar said he will listen to the will of the “free Libyan people” on Sunday, in the strongest indication that he might run in elections expected next year.

The military commander, who controls vast areas of territory in eastern Libya, made his comments during a military graduation ceremony.

Haftar styles himself as a strongman capable of ending the chaos that has gripped Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

His comments are reminiscent of remarks made by Egypt’s General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when he was testing the ground before becoming a presidential candidate. Sisi was eventually elected in 2014.

Just as Sisi built up wide support after toppling Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, supporters of Haftar speak of a similar situation developing in Libya, with rallies held in some eastern cities calling on him to run.

“We declare clearly and unequivocally our full compliance with the orders of the free Libyan people, which is its own guardian and the master of its land,” Haftar said in a speech.

He spoke in the eastern city of Benghazi, from where his forces managed to expel rival armed groups in Benghazi after a three-year campaign for control of Libya’s second city.

Haftar, a general from the Gaddafi era, also dismissed a series of UN-led talks to bridge differences between Libya’s two rival administrations, one linked to him in the east and one backed by the United Nations in the capital Tripoli.

“All the dialogues starting from Ghadames [in northwest Libya] and ending in Tunis and going through Geneva and Skhirat [in Morocco] was just ink on paper,” he said, listing host cities of UN talks.


The United Nations launched a new round of talks in September in Tunis between the rival factions to prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018, but they broke off after one month without any deal.

A major obstacle to progress was the issue of Haftar’s own rule. He remains popular among some Libyans in the east weary of the chaos but faces opposition from many in western Libya.

In his speech, Haftar said his forces, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), could be only placed under an authority that had been elected by the Libyan people, in a further indication that he might take part in the election.

Haftar’s supporters had set Sunday as a deadline for a UN deal or calling on the general to take over for several years. The UN has rejected this.

Haftar insisted on Sunday that the mandate of the country’s UN-backed government has run out after what he said was the expiration of a tattered 2015 political deal.

The UN-brokered agreement signed in Morocco on 17 December 2015 established Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) for a one-year period, renewable only once.

Turning point

In a televised speech, Haftar, who has never recognized the GNA’s authority, said the “expiry of the Libyan political accord” marked a “historic and dangerous turning point”.

“All bodies resulting from this agreement automatically lose their legitimacy, which has been contested from the first day they took office,” he said.

The large North African country has been in turmoil since Gaddafi’s downfall gave space to militants and smuggling networks that have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe.

Haftar is just one of many players in Libya, which is controlled by armed groups divided along political, religious, regional and business lines.

The president of the eastern House of Representatives backing Haftar, Aguila Saleh, said it was time to start preparing for elections, according to a video posted on social media.

“I urge to join preparing parliamentary and presidential elections,” he said.

Source: Middle East Eye.



Gadaffi’s son Saif al-Islam ‘to run for Libyan presidency’

Monday 18 December 2017

Saif al-Islam, the son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who is wanted for alleged crimes against humanity, is to stand in his country’s next presidential election, it was reported on Monday.

Spokesman Basem al-Hashimi al-Soul told the Egypt Today newspaper that Saif al-Islam had the support of “major tribes” in his home country and would run on a promise to provide “security and stability”.

“Saif al-Islam will run for the upcoming presidential elections which may take place in mid-2018,” Soul was quoted as saying.

“Saif al-Islam plans to impose more security and stability in accordance with the Libyan geography and in coordination with all Libyan factions.

“He enjoys the support of major tribes in Libya, so he can run.”

The UN-backed Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli, announced last week it hoped to run presidential elections next year in an effort to push forward with the country’s national reconciliation program.

Wanted for crimes against humanity

Islam, the second of eight Gaddafi sons, would however face significant hurdles before his nomination is cleared.

He was arrested after his father’s death in 2011 and held by the Abu Bakr al-Sadiq Brigade in Zintan until his release this June under an amnesty law passed by a rump parliament based in Tobruk, in the east of the country.

The UK-educated 44-year-old faces investigations by the International Criminal Court for his role in the repression of the 2011 revolt against his father.

He was separately sentenced to death in July 2015 by a Tripoli court, which was controlled by a now-defunct government that rivaled the Tobruk parliament.

However his support in Libya, and the fractious nature of the country post-Gaddafi, was such that the Zintan militias refused to comply with the court.

The claim of his spokesman, Soul, of tribal support is also significant. In September 2015, the self-proclaimed “Supreme Council of the Libyan Tribes” chose Saif al-Islam as the legitimate representative of the country.

This council essentially brings together those tribes who remained faithful to Gaddafi and, while it lacks institutional power, its unity is significant in a country torn between competing factions and shifting alliances.

Source: Middle East Eye.



Libyan warlord in Cairo to enlist Egyptian airstrikes on Derna and other cities

October 28, 2017

The commander of the so-called Libyan Army Khalifa Haftar is scheduled to arrive in Egypt ‘s Cairo Saturday to discuss possible Egyptian airstrikes on Derna and other cities like Ajdabiya, The New Arab reported Egyptian sources as saying.

The New Arab added that a meeting between Haftar and his accompanying delegation and the Head of the Egyptian committee on Libyan affairs as well as Chief of Staff Ahmad Hijazy will take place Saturday and several issues will be reviewed.

As Egyptian fingers were pointed lately at the claim that the individuals who conducted the last attack in Wahat in Egypt came through the border with Libya, the sources added that cooperation on border security with Haftar’s forces will also be discussed, in addition to the results of Al-Sisi and French President’s talks on the Libyan crisis, the UK-based newspaper added.

It indicated that a relative alteration in Egyptian vision for the solution of Libya’s crisis has surfaced as Cairo will be pushing forth the military solution led by Haftar regardless of the ongoing UN action plan implementation that had already started in Tunisia talks last month.

This push of Egypt sees eye to eye with Haftar‘s efforts to seize Libya including the capital’s control, which belongs until now to the UN-brokered government led by Fayez Al-Sirraj, the newspaper reports.

“Cairo has a calmer and more gradual strategy than Haftar has. While the whole world would be watching how Al-Sirraj government would lose control of the government, there will be no way to reject the real situation that will see Haftar controlling the capital and we will welcome it.” It explained.

A couple of days ago, the mouthpiece of Haftar Ahmad Al-Mismari claimed that their forces will receive a warm welcome in Tripoli as they advance militarily on the capital to “attack terrorist militias,” vowing to coordinate with Egypt in border security operations.

Source: Libya Observer.



Medical supplies sent to Derna not nearly enough, says head of local hospital

October 28, 2017

The information office of the Derna branch of the Libyan Red Crescent Society, confirmed the arrival of medical aid to the city’s medical supply stores from the Ministry of Health of the Interim Government of Abdullah Thini.

The shipment included vaccinations and supplies for the national vaccination campaign against polio and measles, dialysis medication and supplies for medical surgeries.

The director of Derna General Hospital stated that the materials that arrived does not cover the current shortfall of medicines and medical supplies as a direct result of the city being besieged, causing a difficult situation in the city.

Source: Libya Observer.



Rada arrests members of Derna Shoura Council visiting Tripoli

Alexandria, 25 October 2017:

The Tripoli special deterrence force Rada, headed by Abdul Raouf Kara, is reported to have arrested at least three members of the Derna Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council (DRSC) who have been staying recently in the city.

The most prominent is Khaled Saad Al-Kilani, a senior DRSC commander who has been living in Tripoli since last year. He is reported to have been arrested earlier this week. At the weekend, two others were also said to have been arrested at an hotel on Omar al-Mukhtar Street. They have been named as Khaled al-Hsadi and Adel al-Karghali.

A former mechanic, Kilani, aged 50 and from the Bab Tobruk area of Derna, was imprisoned as an Islamist by the Qaddafi regime. He was released in 2011 and is said to have then joined Ansar Al-Sharia, fighting in 2014 and 2015 in Benghazi where he lost a leg. After returning to Derna, he was again reportedly wounded, going to Tripoli for treatment.

Two of his daughters are alleged to have married two other prominent Ansar members, Hisham Aneesh and Abdulaali Al-Maghrabi who was killed in Benghazi in 2015.

Kilani’s 23-year-son, Saad, is also reported to have been arrested by Rada.

The two others arrested, Hasadi and Karghali are believe to have been  dealing with the affairs of other wounded DRSC members being treated in Tripoli.

Source: Libya Herald.



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