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Libya’s Haftar: LNA Not Involved in Tripoli Clashes

Libya’s Haftar: LNA Not Involved in Tripoli Clashes

Saturday, 22 September, 2018 - 07:45
LNA commander Khalifa Haftar reiterated a warning that his forces could intervene to restore calm in Tripoli. (AFP)

Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar reiterated a warning that his forces could intervene to restore calm in Tripoli following the renewal of militia clashes in the capital.

“When the time is right, we will move towards Tripoli,” he told a meeting with tribal officials.

“Such a move will calm all sides,” he stressed, while adding that the LNA was not involved in any of the military operations in Tripoli.

Moreover, Haftar said that the militias involved in the clashes were being supported by the Government of National Accord that is headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.

He vowed, however, that the law will hold everyone accountable for their actions, adding that the LNA “now controls the majority of the country… and is claiming victories against the terrorists.”

Clashes between rival militias had erupted in Tripoli in August. They eventually ended with a United Nations-brokered ceasefire on September 4.

The deal collapsed this week, however. Eleven people have been killed in the renewed fighting, including five civilians and three military personnel. Thirty-three people have been wounded.

The latest figures bring to 96 the total number of people killed in the fighting.

The clashes have pitted various rival militias, including the 7th Brigade, against each other.

On Friday, the “Tripoli protection force,” comprised of various armed brigades in the capital, announced the launch of an operation to expel the “outlaws”, meaning the 7th Brigade and its backers, from the city.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) identified two militia leaders, vowing that they will be held accountable for their actions. Violators of security will also be persecuted by international law, it warned.

It urged all warring parties, “especially those fighting under the command of Salah Badi, to immediately cease all acts of violence in Tripoli,” adding that “targeting civilians and civilian installations is prohibited by International Humanitarian Law and constitutes war crimes.”

The Badi militias, however, rejected the UN stance, listing in a statement a number of violations committed by rival militias.

Moreover, they urged the UN mission to “refrain from becoming embroiled in the actions of the corrupt militias.”

Badi claimed that his militias were acting in self-defense and that they will not stand idly by as they come under attack from rival militants.

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