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Haftar Fortifies His Naval Fleet, Consolidates Presence in Derna

Haftar Fortifies His Naval Fleet, Consolidates Presence in Derna

Saturday, 19 May, 2018 - 07:30
Khalifa Haftar salutes as he participates in General Security conference, in Benghazi, Libya, October 14, 2017. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/File Photo

The Libyan naval forces, led by National Army Commander Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, announced on Friday that a new frigate has joined their fleet.


The Army Command said it had been able to recuperate a frigate after seven years of its presence abroad, to join the naval fleet, to participate in the protection of territorial waters and the war on terrorism, and the countering of human trafficking through illegal immigration.

An official ceremony was held on the occasion at the Benghazi naval base in the presence of senior military officials.


The LNA leadership said that the arrival of the frigate “represents a qualitative leap of the Navy fleet, and another success of the armed forces.”


The army said on Friday that it had strengthened its presence in the city of Derna and its surroundings.


Meanwhile, the Supreme Council of the State in Tripoli announced that its president Khaled al-Mushari and Mansour Hasadi have reviewed latest developments with the US Charge d'Affaires, Stephanie Williams, in Tunis.


Mushari and Hasadi, both leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, had previously demanded that the army stop its current military operations to liberate Derna, the last stronghold of terrorist groups in the eastern coast of Libya.


In television remarks, Mushari has reiterated that he was ready to meet with House of Representatives Speaker Aguila Saleh, saying: “Talk now should not be about political or military gains, but about a homeland that will remain or be lost.”


A source in the city of Derna told Asharq Al-Awsat that the army was currently working on dismantling the external defense lines of the terrorists inside the city, noting that the armed forces were putting heavy pressure on the militants, who did not have a choice but to leave their hideouts and become an easy target for the army.


Xinhua reported that heavy clashes broke out in Derna on Thursday between the armed forces and militants, leaving five soldiers and six extremists dead, according to medical and military sources.


“The hospital received six bodies of members of the Shura Council of the Mujahideen of Derna, while an unknown number of others were wounded and could not be counted because they were taken to private hospitals,” a medical source from Al-Wahda hospital in Darna told Xinhua later Thursday.


Meanwhile, Humanitarian coordinator for the UN Support Mission in Libya Maria Ribeiro called on the army to allow humanitarian aid to reach Derna.

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