Divide Widens in Libya over Parliament Meetings in Benghazi, Ghadames

Speaker Aguila Saleh. (Reuters file photo)
Speaker Aguila Saleh. (Reuters file photo)
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Divide Widens in Libya over Parliament Meetings in Benghazi, Ghadames

Speaker Aguila Saleh. (Reuters file photo)
Speaker Aguila Saleh. (Reuters file photo)

The east-based Libyan parliament renewed on Saturday its call on members to convene on Monday at the legislature’s constitutional headquarters in Benghazi.

The move is believed to be an attempt to thwart efforts to oust Speaker Aguila Saleh ahead of a parliament meeting scheduled for the city of Ghadames in the west.

The scheduling of the meeting in Ghadames had revealed divisions among the Benghazi parliament.

This is the second time in a week that the lawmakers are asked to meet in Benghazi. A meeting was convened last week, but the majority of members did not attend. They instead took part in a parliament meeting in Ghadames.

That meeting failed in resolving legal obstacles impeding the ouster of Saleh and appointing a replacement.

Separately, Government of National Accord Defense Minister Salah al-Namroush threatened to withdraw GNA representatives from the joint military committee meetings.

He said the delegates would quit the panel if the Libyan National Army (LNA), supported by mercenaries, continued to launch attacks in southern Libya.

The joint military committee includes representatives from the GNA and LNA. It had reached a UN-sponsored ceasefire in November.

“Should the ceasefire collapse, then the GNA is prepared to wage a military battle against (LNA commander Khalifa) Haftar,” warned Namroush.

“We reject any deal that includes Haftar and no political agreement that involves him will be struck. We adamantly refuse to involve Haftar in any future political deal,” stressed the minister.

“The GNA is ready to begin talks with the other side in order to reach a political solution on condition that Haftar is permanently marginalized,” he stated.

Meanwhile, UN acting special representative to Libya, Stephanie Williams, is set to take part on Monday in the meeting of the joint Economic Working Group that was formed during the Berlin conference earlier this year.

The meeting, which will be held at the UN headquarters in Geneva, will include representatives of Libya’s main financial institutions and will aim to reach an agreement on economic reforms in the North African country.



Israeli Tanks at Edge of Rafah's Mawasi Refuge Zone

A man walks across  fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024.  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A man walks across fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
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Israeli Tanks at Edge of Rafah's Mawasi Refuge Zone

A man walks across  fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024.  (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)
A man walks across fallen tents the day after a strike on the al-Mawasi area, northwest of the Palestinian city of Rafah on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Bashar TALEB / AFP)

Israeli tanks advanced to the edge of the Mawasi displaced persons' camp in the northwest of the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Sunday in fierce fighting with Hamas-led fighters, residents said.
Images of two Israeli tanks stationed on a hilltop overlooking the coastal area went viral on social media, but Reuters could not independently verify them.

"The fighting with the resistance has been intense. The occupation forces are overlooking the Mawasi area now, which forced families there to head for Khan Younis," said one resident, who asked not to be named, on a chat app.

More than eight months into Israel's war in the Hamas-administered Palestinian enclave, its advance is focused on the two areas its forces have yet to seize: Rafah on Gaza's southern tip and the area surrounding Deir al-Balah in the center.

Residents said Israeli tanks had pushed deeper into western and northern Rafah in recent days, blowing up dozens of houses.

The Israeli military said it was continuing "intelligence-based, targeted operations" in the Rafah area and had located weapons stores and tunnel shafts, and killed Palestinian gunmen.

The armed wings of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement said their fighters had attacked Israeli forces in Rafah with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs and pre-planted explosive devices.

Elsewhere, an Israeli airstrike killed eight Palestinians in Sabra, a suburb of Gaza City in the north, and another strike killed two people in Nuseirat in central Gaza.

The military said it had struck dozens of targets throughout the Strip.

On Saturday, Palestinian health officials said at least 40 Palestinians had been killed in separate Israeli strikes in some northern Gaza districts, where the Israeli army said it had attacked Hamas's military infrastructure. Hamas said the targets were the civilian population.

In Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, health officials at Kamal Adwan Hospital said a baby had died of malnutrition, taking the number of children dead of malnutrition or dehydration since Oct. 7 to at least 30, a number that health officials say reflects under-recording.