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Haftar Troops Advance in South Libya, Putting GNA Under Pressure

Haftar Troops Advance in South Libya, Putting GNA Under Pressure

Sunday, 24 February, 2019 - 10:15
Libya's eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar (File Photo: Reuters)

The Libyan National Army (LNA) continued to advance in the south of Libya amid heavy clashes with terrorists and Chadian groups, further isolating Fayez al-Sarraj's Government of National Accord in the capital Tripoli.

Although LNA commander Khalifa Haftar did not declare the army's advance towards the capital, military officials told Asharq al-Awsat that the liberation of the South would greatly facilitate the army’s mission if it was ordered to move on Tripoli, which has been under militia control for five years.

“Controlling the entire South will certainly facilitate the next step to enter Tripoli,” said a military officer who asked not to be identified.

The officer indicated that the entire South is now under the control of the army from Sabha to Qurayyat.

“The next battle is in Tripoli and it won't be easy,” admitted the military officer.

LNA's victories in the South have prompted Sarraj’s government to begin preparations for a possible battle in Tripoli.

Intelligence and military sources told Asharq al-Awsat that commander of the western military zone of Sarraj’s troops, Major General Ousama al-Juwaili, received about twenty containers, which are likely to contain weapons to be used in coming clashes.

Commander of Karama Operations Room Major General Abdul Salam al-Hassi said no military expert can predict the timing of the army's push into Tripoli.

“We are still in the South, and we are in the process of liberating it, helping citizens restore their normal lives, establishing stability and security, and chasing terrorists and mercenaries,” he indicated, adding that Tripoli will be dealt with at the right time.

The Council of Ministers of the Presidential Council government held a meeting on Saturday to discuss the situation facing the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA).

Earlier, the Libyan Office of Public Prosecutor in Tripoli issued an arrest warrant for the Chairman of the Authority, Ali Mahmoud Hassan Mohamed.

Mahmoud was detained over financial corruption and embezzlement.

Sarraj chaired the meeting of the Board of Trustees of LIA at the Presidential Council’s headquarters in Tripoli. The meeting was attended by Minister of Planning Tahir al-Jahimi, Finance Faraj Boumtari and Economy and Trade Ali al-Issawi.

The Authority’s board of directors had promised earlier this month to directly supervise the investment funds within the framework of a series of reform measures.

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