LNA Makes Advances in Southern Libya, Nears Tripoli

The LNA was one step close to capturing southern Libya. (AFP)
The LNA was one step close to capturing southern Libya. (AFP)
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LNA Makes Advances in Southern Libya, Nears Tripoli

The LNA was one step close to capturing southern Libya. (AFP)
The LNA was one step close to capturing southern Libya. (AFP)

The Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar, was on the verge of capturing Sabha after Government National Accord (GNA) forces surprisingly withdrew from the southern city.

A military official told Asharq Al-Awsat that it was “only a matter of time” before the LNA imposes its control over the South.

The operation it is waging is going according to plan, he said on condition of anonymity.

The move would put the LNA one step closer to GNA-held Tripoli.

Commander of the GNA’s sixth infantry unit, Ahmed al-Ataybi, had accused head of the government, Fayez al-Sarraj, of not providing enough support to his forces, prompting their surprise withdrawal.

Moreover, the source predicted that clashes may erupt between extremists and some members of the al-Toubou tribes.

Meanwhile, the LNA denied that it was biased towards any social segment in the South.

Spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said Saturday that claims of bias are aimed at “stoking strife between the people and legitimate authorities.”

His remarks appear to be in response to media and activists’ circulation of videos that show LNA forces using racial slurs against the residents of Sabha and neighboring areas.

The videos sparked the ire of the Toubou tribes, which make up the bulk of the South’s population, especially Sabha.

The tribes denied claims that they were supporting and harboring Chadian opposition groups, but said that they enjoy social and historic bonds with Chad and Niger.



Israeli Forces Pull Back after Gaza City Offensive, Leaving Dozens of Bodies

Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
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Israeli Forces Pull Back after Gaza City Offensive, Leaving Dozens of Bodies

Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas
Palestinians gather as they inspect the damages after Israeli forces withdrew from a part of Gaza City, following a ground operation, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in Gaza City, July 12, 2024. REUTERS/Dawoud Abu Alkas

Israeli forces retreated from some Gaza City districts overnight after a fierce, week-long military offensive, leaving dozens of dead and wrecked homes and roads in the Palestinian enclave's biggest urban area, residents and rescue service said on Friday.

The offensive, 10 months into Israel's campaign to eliminate Hamas militants, took place as US-backed mediators sought to finalize a peace deal that would free remaining hostages taken by the militants in their cross-border rampage on Oct. 7.

According to Reuters, the Gaza Civil Emergency Service said teams had collected around 60 bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past week from the area of Tel Al-Hawa and the edges of the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City.

Both residents and rescue teams cautioned that while tanks withdrew from some areas, Israeli snipers and tanks continued to control high ground at some locations, and warned residents against trying to return to their homes in those areas.

"There are bodies scattered in the streets, dismembered bodies, there are bodies of entire families, there are also bodies inside a home of an entire family that was completely burned," Gaza Strip Civil Defense spokesperson Mahmoud Basal said in comments carried by media in Hamas-run Gaza.

The Israeli military had said on Thursday that its forces were working to dismantle Hamas capabilities in Gaza City, and that it "follows international law and takes feasible precautions to mitigate civilian harm." It said the same was not true of Hamas.

The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad said they had fought fierce battles against Israeli forces, attacking them with anti-tank rockets and mortar fire, killing and wounding many. There has been no Israeli army comment on those claims.

Home to more than a quarter of Gaza's residents before the war, Gaza City was largely razed to the ground in late 2023, but hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have returned to homes in the ruins. Israel has once again ordered them out, though it is unclear where residents can go safely. Israel controls most of Gaza's borders and is also attacking central and southern Gaza.