Posts Tagged ‘Libyan National Army’

Islamic State beheads 11 people in eastern Libya

August 23, 2017

BENGHAZI, Libya — The spokesman of Libya’s self-styled national army in the east says Islamic State militants beheaded 11 people in an attack on a checkpoint.

Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Mosmari said in a Facebook post that two of those killed Wednesday were civilians, while the rest were soldiers. The attack took place in the central district of al-Jufra, some 300 kilometers (185 miles) south of the coastal city of Sirte, which IS held until it was expelled late last year by Libyan forces.

Libya sank into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Today it is split between rival parliaments and governments in the east and west, each backed by a set of militias, tribes and political factions

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11 beheaded in attack on Libya checkpoint: pro-Haftar forces

© AFP | Members of the self-styled Libyan National Army are loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar

BENGHAZI (LIBYA) (AFP) – At least 11 people were beheaded Wednesday after an attack on a checkpoint controlled by Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar south of Tripoli, a spokesman for his forces said.

“At least nine soldiers were beheaded… in addition to two civilians” at the checkpoint about 500 kilometres (300 miles) south of Tripoli, Colonel Ahmad al-Mesmari said, blaming the Islamic State jihadist group for the gruesome attack.

No group has yet claimed the attack at dawn on a checkpoint run by Haftar’s forces in the Al-Jufra region.

Haftar’s self-proclaimed Libyan National Army seized the area, including a key military air base, in June from the Benghazi Defence Brigades coalition which includes Islamists driven out of Libya’s second city by the field marshal’s forces.

Analysts and military sources say IS remains active in Libya, particularly the south, despite losing its stronghold of Sirte in December 2016.

Libya has been rocked by chaos since the 2011 fall and killing of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed revolution.

Jihadists, arms dealers and people traffickers have gained a foothold in Libya as multiple authorities and dozens of militias vie for power.

© 2017 AFP

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East Libya Elite Force of Khalifa Haftar Refuses International Criminal Court Order To Arrest Mahmoud al-Werfalli For Possible War Crimes

August 16, 2017

BENGHAZI, Libya — An elite forces unit linked to the army that controls much of eastern Libya has snubbed international efforts to bring to justice one of its senior officers for allegedly executing dozens of prisoners.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday for Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a commander in the Special Forces of Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

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Mahmoud al-Werfalli

The accusations against him relate to incidents in and near Benghazi in spring and early summer, towards the end of a three-year LNA campaign against Islamists and other opponents in Libya’s second city.

Videos circulated on social media appear to show Werfalli executing or overseeing the execution of masked and handcuffed prisoners

“The Special Forces strongly reject the arrest warrant,” spokesman Milad Al-Zwai said.

Zwai said the ICC should instead focus on arresting “those who killed and displaced men, women and children, and the people who meted out torture and killing and destruction.”

“We will continue our struggle against this oppressive faction,” he said without further explanation. His statement mentioned neither the videos nor the accusations against Werfalli.

In May, Werfalli announced his resignation from the Special Forces, but this was rejected by the unit’s top commander. The following month a U.N. panel of experts reported he was involved in running secret detention centers outside Benghazi.

The LNA has previously said it would investigate war crimes allegations in eastern Libya, where it is the main military force.

The Special Forces is an elite unit nominally under LNA control that joined the Benghazi campaign in its early stages.

Since announcing victory in the campaign in July, the LNA has extended its presence in the center and south of the divided country as it has vied for control with forces linked to the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and other rivals.

GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and Haftar last month committed to a conditional ceasefire and to work towards holding elections next spring in talks brokered by France.

Several previous attempts at peace deals have been scuttled by internal divisions between the myriad of competing armed groups that have emerged in oil-producing Libya since rebels toppled strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

In July, the United Nations said it was deeply concerned that people detained by the LNA might be at risk of torture or summary execution.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has said she “will not hesitate to bring new cases” in Libya, where evidence dictates.

(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing by Ahmed Elumami, additional reporting and editing by Aidan Lewis; editing by John Stonestreet)

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International Criminal Court (ICC) Issues Arrest Warrant for a Libyan National Army (LNA) Commander Charged With Executing Captives

August 15, 2017

THE HAGUE — Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for a Libyan National Army (LNA)commander accused over the alleged execution of dozens of prisoners.

Prosecutors at the world’s permanent war crimes court are seeking Mahmoud al-Werfalli’s hand-over to face charges of murder during the armed conflict in Libya.

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Mahmoud al-Werfalli

According to the ICC, Werfalli “is alleged to have directly committed and to have ordered the commission of murder as a war crime” during seven incidents, involving 33 persons in June and July 2017 in and near Benghazi.

The LNA, which controls the eastern part of Libya, has been pushing to expand its presence in the central and southern part of the country where it has been vying for control with forces linked to the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli and other groups.

The United Nations called for the LNA to suspend Werfalli after a video in March allegedly showed Werfalli shooting dead three men who were kneeling and facing a wall with their hands tied behind their backs.

The LNA said it would investigate any potential war crimes but has not released any details of such a probe.

In June, two further videos appeared to show summary executions carried out by LNA fighters on his orders.

The ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes in Libya after a referral by the United Nations Security Council in 2011 and has been investigating alleged atrocities there.

Eighteen blindfolded prisoners in Guantanamo Bay-style jumpsuits line up to face their deaths

Eighteen blindfolded prisoners in Guantanamo Bay-style jumpsuits line up to face their deaths

(Reporting By Anthony Deutsch and Stephanie van den Berg; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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Libyan Military Strongman Haftar Visiting Russia

August 12, 2017

MOSCOW — Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar was due to arrive in Moscow on Saturday ahead of a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister, RIA news agency reported, citing a Russian negotiator.

Haftar is expected to meet Sergei Lavrov on Monday, Lev Dengov, head of the Russian contact group on Libya, told RIA. It was not immediately clear what the pair would be discussing.

At the end of July, Haftar and Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj committed during talks in France to a conditional ceasefire and to elections, but a Italian naval mission aimed to help the country curb migrant flows has fueled tension this month.

Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army controls much of eastern and southern Libya.

It has rejected a U.N.-backed government in Tripoli that is struggling to assert authority over an array of armed factions which have been competing for control since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Haftar has held talks with Russian officials before and in January he was given a tour of a Russian aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.

The head of the U.N.-backed government visited Moscow in March, and the Kremlin said then it wanted to help repair the damage it said had been done by Western involvement in the country.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Additional reporting by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Alison Williams)

Video shows 18 blindfolded ‘ISIS fighters’ being shot in the head in Libya

July 24, 2017
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
  • The men are understood to be ISIS fighters who were killed by the Libyan Army
  • Executioners walk up to a row of prisoners and shoot them dead with rifles
  • Killers then turn on their heels and walk back before the sequence is repeated

A shocking video has emerged showing 18 prisoners in orange jumpsuits getting shot in the back of the head from point-blank range in summary executions in Libya.

The men, understood to be ISIS fighters, are shown kneeling in four rows and facing away from their killers.

Executioners can be seen walking up slowly behind their targets before firing a spray of bullets from what look like semi-automatic assault rifles into the backs of their heads before another line of killers repeat the sequence.

It comes amid tensions between jihadists and Libyan forces in Benghazi after strongman Khalifa Haftar – a former soldier under the Gaddafi regime who has risen through the ranks to commander of the Libyan National Army – declared victory in the eastern city.

Scroll down for video 

Executioners, thought to be from the Libyan National Army, take aim at their targets - supposedly ISIS fighters in the country 

Executioners, thought to be from the Libyan National Army, take aim at their targets – supposedly ISIS fighters in the country

The killers spray their targets with bullets long after they have fallen to the ground in a heap

The killers spray their targets with bullets long after they have fallen to the ground in a heap

Eighteen blindfolded prisoners in Guantanamo Bay-style jumpsuits line up to face their deaths

Eighteen blindfolded prisoners in Guantanamo Bay-style jumpsuits line up to face their deaths

The gruesome video, seen by MailOnline, shows all 18 men in orange jumpsuits falling to the floor after being shot, but it it not clear who is pulling the trigger and giving the orders.

It is claimed by the Libyan Express the commander of the eastern Saiqa Force of Operation Dignity Mahmoud Al-Werfalli conducted the massacre.

He was also said to have ordered the killings by the Libyan Observer, who reported he had been promoted by Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army, for his alleged role in killing policemen in May.

Image result for Khalifa Haftar, photos

Khalifa Haftar

It is understood those killed were ISIS fighters in Libya, according to Al Jazeera, who again claimed it was Al-Werfalli reading the charges before his proteges shoot the detainees dead.

In the video, a man can be seen reading from a piece of paper and men in military uniform can be seen walking up to their targets, taking one each, and unleashing a flurry of bullets on the command of their leader.

The kneeling men fall to the ground face-first, which doesn’t stop the gunmen from shooting.

Eventually, they turn on their heels and walk back together in a line before a new set of executioners walk forward and kill the next line of prisoners.

A man in an orange jumpsuit located in the second line appears to fall forward in an attempt to fool the executioners, but he is dragged back onto his knees and callously shot in the head in the second round of killings.

The sequence continues until all 18 men are dead.

The first row of prisoners are taken out by the first line of executioners in the video dated July 17

The first row of prisoners are taken out by the first line of executioners in the video dated July 17

Five prisoners lay face-down in the dirt after being shot in the back of the head at point-blank range

Five prisoners lay face-down in the dirt after being shot in the back of the head at point-blank range

Dust rises from the ground in the desert as the executioners stand behind the men they have killed

Dust rises from the ground in the desert as the executioners stand behind the men they have killed

Executioners holding up their semi-automatic assault rifles before pulling the trigger and killing their targets

Executioners holding up their semi-automatic assault rifles before pulling the trigger and killing their targets

The video is dated July 17, which means it would have come just days after the UN’s human rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell said called for the Libyan National Army (LNA) which controls the eastern part of the country to investigate summary executions of prisoners.

The UN’s human rights body and voiced concern at the fate of those still in their custody.

The LNA is pushing to expand its presence in central and southern Libya, where it has been vying for control with forces linked to the UN-backed government in Tripoli and other opponents.

LNA leader Khalifa Haftar has gained ground with Egyptian and Emirati support, and Western states say Haftar must be part of any solution to Libya’s conflict

UN human rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell said: ‘We are deeply concerned that, after recent fighting in Benghazi, people taken prisoner by members of the Libyan National Army, which effectively controls eastern Libya, may be at imminent risk of torture and even summary execution.

‘Reports have suggested the involvement of Special Forces, a unit aligned with the LNA, in torturing detainees and summarily executing at least 10 captured men.’

A member of the self-styled Libyan National Army, loyal to the country's east strongman Khalifa Haftar, rides in a tank as it drives down a street through the rubble in Benghazi's central Akhribish district on July 19, 2017 following clashes with militants

A member of the self-styled Libyan National Army, loyal to the country’s east strongman Khalifa Haftar, rides in a tank as it drives down a street through the rubble in Benghazi’s central Akhribish district on July 19, 2017 following clashes with militants

Smoke billows from buildings during clashes between members of the self-styled Libyan National Army, loyal to the country's east strongman Khalifa Haftar, and militants in Benghazi's central Akhribish district on July 19, 2017

A picture shows a damaged building in Benghazi's central Akhribish district on July 19, 2017.
Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar on July 5, 2017, announced the "total liberation" of second city Benghazi, which was overrun by jihadists three years ago

A picture shows a damaged building in Benghazi’s central Akhribish district on July 19, 2017.Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar on July 5, 2017, announced the ‘total liberation’ of second city Benghazi, which was overrun by jihadists three years ago

The Libyan National Army announced last March that it would conduct investigations into alleged war crimes but has not shared any information, Throssell said.

‘We urge the LNA to ensure there is a full, impartial investigation into these allegations,’ she said.

Throssell also called on the group to suspend Mahmoud al-Werfalli from his duties as a Special Forces field commander pending the conclusion of such an investigation.

A video circulating on social media in March allegedly showed al-Werfalli shooting dead three men who were kneeling and facing a wall with their hands tied behind their backs, Throssell said.

In June, two further videos appeared to show summary executions carried out by LNA fighters on his orders.

‘One of these videos, which emerged on 9 June, shows four men kneeling with their hands tied behind their backs who are shot dead as al-Werfalli watches,’ she said.

‘The latest video, which was posted on social media this month, seems to shows LNA fighters kicking and taunting prisoners, while al-Werfalli is apparently heard accusing two men who have their hands tied behind their backs of belonging to terrorist groups,’ she said.

The LNA has declined comment on the images.

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Rights Group Calls for Probe Into Libyan Forces After Execution Video Shown — “Apparent war crimes” HRW says

July 24, 2017

CAIRO — Libya officials should investigate and dismiss forces involved in atrocities, a human rights group said on Monday, after a video appeared on social media purportedly showing a military unit executing 20 suspected militants.

The video was seen by Reuters on social media but it could not be independently verified. It appears to show a military unit linked to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar executing 20 hooded men they accuse of being Islamic State militants found guilty of bombings and killings.

Image result for Khalifa Haftar, photos

Khalifa Haftar

The video is the latest that appears to show Haftar’s Libyan National Army troops engaged in summary executions of suspected militants. An LNA spokesman in Benghazi declined to comment on the video but it has previously denied its forces are involved.

Image result for Khalifa Haftar executing 20 hooded men, photos

Khalifa Haftar appears in an “execution video” like this one from the Islamic State

“This latest mass execution, if confirmed, would be one more in a string of atrocities committed by members of the Libyan National Army forces and is yet another manifestation of how its members are taking the law into their own hands,” Eric Goldstein, Middle East and North Africa deputy director for Human Rights Watch, said.

The video was released in a week when Haftar and Fayez al-Serraj, the leader of Libya’s U.N.-backed government, are due to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris for talks over a political agreement to end the factional fighting.

Haftar and his allies have rejected the authority of Serraj’s government in Tripoli that is supported by other armed factions and presented by Libya’s Western partners as the solution to the country’s crisis.

POWER STRUGGLE

Haftar’s LNA is one of the most powerful military forces in the country, gaining ground in the east and the south with the support of Egypt and United Arab Emirates who back his campaign against Islamist militants.

Libya has had no national army, despite the name of Haftar’s group, since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 civil war sent the state spiralling into a power struggle among competing brigades of former rebels each backing rival political factions.

Goldstein said the LNA and the Libyan government needed to remove from duty those accused of violations and hold them accountable if found guilty after a transparent investigation.

“A failure to do so risks implicating senior military commanders in these apparent war crimes,” he said.

The video purports to show an LNA commander reading out a statement before rows of men kneeling in orange jumpsuits with black hoods over their heads and their hands bound. LNA forces move row by row to fire into the back of their heads and bodies.

“Executed by firing squad after they were found guilty,” a caption on the video reads.

The video did not explain how the men had been found guilty, but armed groups in Libya often say they are legitimate forces that carry out their own investigations, and have been accused of torturing and abusing prisoners.

An LNA special forces commander, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, appears in the video. The United Nations has previously called for the LNA to dismiss him after a video in March allegedly showed al-Werfalli shooting dead three men who were kneeling and facing a wall with their hands tied behind their backs.

Image result for Mahmoud al-Werfalli,, photos

Mahmoud al-Werfalli, at right

In June, two further videos appeared to show summary executions carried out by LNA fighters on his orders.

Earlier this month, the U.N. human rights body called on the LNA to investigate summary executions of prisoners and torture of those still in captivity. In March, the LNA said it would investigate potential war crimes but has not released any details of the probe.

The U.N. human rights office had no immediate comment about the latest video.

(Reporting by Patrick Markey)

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Libya strongman in UAE for talks on military ‘cooperation’

July 9, 2017

AFP

© AFP | File picture of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the self-styled Libyan National Army, who has met with UAE leaders for talks on military cooperation

ABU DHABI (AFP) – Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar has met with UAE leaders for talks on military cooperation, state media said Sunday, days after announcing the retaking of second city Benghazi from jihadists.Haftar, who has visited the United Arab Emirates regularly in recent months, held talks with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan Saturday on “joint cooperation between the two countries… in combating extremism and terrorist organisations,” state news agency WAM said.

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Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan

The United Nations in June released a report accusing the UAE of supplying helicopters and other military aircraft to Haftar in violation of a UN arms embargo.

Haftar, the head of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, on Wednesday announced the “total liberation” of Benghazi, three years after it was overrun by jihadists.

Six years after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi, chaos continues to engulf Libya as militants fight for power and access to the country’s vast oil reserves.

The unrest has provided fertile ground for extremist groups, some with ties to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

The UAE in May hosted a meeting between Haftar and rival Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), in a bid to mediate in the political conflict.

Haftar does not recognise the authority of the Tripoli-based GNA, instead backing an alternate government based in the country’s east.

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Khalifa Haftar
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By Ayman Al-Warfalli

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BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Libya’s eastern commander Khalifa Haftar said on Wednesday his forces had taken full control of Libya’s second city Benghazi from rival armed groups after a three-year campaign.

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The battle for Benghazi between Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) and an array of Islamist militants and other fighters has been part of a broader conflict since Libya slipped into turmoil following the 2011 fall of strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

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Victory would mark a major advance for the one-time commander in Gaddafi’s army, who has slowly gained ground in eastern and southern Libya in defiance of a U.N.-backed government that is struggling to extend its influence from the capital, Tripoli.

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Libya’s Eastern Commander Declares Victory — Members of the Libyan army’s special forces celebrate after the liberation of the last region of Islamist militants in their last stronghold in Benghazi, Libya, July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori . Reuters

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“Your armed forces declare to you the liberation of Benghazi from terrorism, a full liberation and a victory of dignity,” Haftar said, wearing a white uniform in a televised speech.

“Benghazi has entered into a new era of safety and peace.”

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Before he spoke, LNA forces made rapid progress through the seafront district of Sabri, using heavy artillery to blast their way through some of the final pockets of resistance.

As they have after past retreats in the battle for the city, rival armed groups may fall back on using guerrilla tactics against Haftar’s forces.

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Haftar launched his “Operation Dignity” in Benghazi in May 2014, promising to crush Islamists blamed for a wave of assassinations and bombings.

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Over three years his forces have clashed with militants as well as with former anti-Gaddafi rebels resisting what they saw as an attempt to reimpose autocratic rule. The LNA suffered heavy losses, which its own officials put at more than 5,000 men.

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Haftar’s critics accuse him of dragging Benghazi into a war that he has used to establish military control over much of eastern Libya. Parts of Benghazi have been wrecked by heavy shelling and air strikes.

In Sabri, where the LNA advanced on Wednesday, deserted streets were littered with debris and the shells of rusting cars. Some buildings have been destroyed and others peppered with holes from bullets and shrapnel.

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Having seized a string of key oil ports and southern air bases since last year, Haftar has made little secret of ambitions to enter Tripoli, where he portrays his rivals as beholden to Islamists and militia rule.

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He has backing from foreign powers including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and has cultivated closer ties with Moscow. The LNA has gradually grown bigger and better equipped but is still heavily dependent on alliances with local brigades and tribes.

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Though weak, the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli retains the formal support of most Western powers.

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(Reporting by Ayman Al-Warfalli; writing by Patrick Markey and Aidan Lewis; editing by Diane Craft)

Strongman Haftar declares victory in battle for Libya’s Benghazi — “Total liberation” — “Today Benghazi enters a new era of peace, security, reconciliation…. and reconstruction.”

July 6, 2017

AFP

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© Abdullah Doma / AFP | Troops loyal to Khalifa Haftar celebrate as they arrive in the eastern city of Benghazi on June 5, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-07-06

Libyan military strongman  on Wednesday announced the “total liberation” of second city Benghazi, which was overrun by jihadists three years ago.

“After a continuous struggle against terrorism and its agents that lasted more than three years… we announce to you the liberation of Benghazi from terrorism,” Haftar, in full military regalia, said in a speech broadcast on television.

“Today Benghazi enters a new era of peace, security, reconciliation…. and reconstruction,” said Haftar, paying homage to “a caravan of martyrs” who fell in the battle for the city.

Field Marshal Haftar declared war on jihadists in Benghazi, three years after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

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Khalifa Haftar

Code-named Operation Dignity, the assault led by Haftar targeted several jihadists groups which had overrun Benghazi after the uprising.

These include the Revolutionary Shura Council of Benghazi, an alliance of Islamist militias among them suspected members of the Islamic state group and the Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia.

Haftar’s announcement came only hours after his self-styled Libyan National Army said they had cornered the last jihadists in a neighbourhood of the eastern city, which had been the cradle of the uprising.

The LNA said they were surrounding the jihadists in Al-Sabri central district after routing them from the Soug al-Hout neighbourhood.

LNA General Abdessalam al-Hassi told AFP the jihadists were cornered in a small part of Al-Sabri and under attack from air strikes, as well as ground forces on three fronts.

Last week a medical source in the city said 44 LNA soldiers had been killed in June alone in Al-Sabri and Soug al-Hout.

Haftar does not recognise the authority of the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli and instead backs a rival parliament based in the country’s far east.

In May, the Libyan foreign minister said Haftar must accept civilian rule in order to play a role in the future of the North African country.

“Haftar must first accept to work under a civilian authority and officially approve the political deal” that gave rise to the power-sharing authority, Mohamed al-Taher Siala told AFP.

Libya has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising, with rival authorities and militias battling for control of the oil-rich country.

(AFP)

Egypt Foreign Minister Says Libyan Militant Camps Direct Threat

May 29, 2017

CAIRO — Militant training camps in Libya are a direct threat to Egypt’s national security, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Shoukry said the latest attacks on Egypt’s Christians prove that Libyan militants are able to target Egypt.

Shoukry added that Egypt’s ongoing military operations are in full coordination with the Libyan National Army.

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Egypt launches fresh Libyan air strikes after IS group attack

May 28, 2017

AFP and Reuters

Egypt launched a fresh round of air strikes over Libya on Saturday, Egyptian military sources and an eyewitness told Reuters, targeting militant camps it said were responsible for a shooting spree that killed dozens of Egyptian Christians.

On Friday, Egyptian fighter jets struck eastern Libya just hours after a shooting that killed 29 and wounded 24 in the southern Egyptian province of Minya when masked militants boarded vehicles en route to a monastery and opened fire at close range.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest directed at Egypt’s increasingly embattled Christian minority following two church bombings last month that killed more than 45, also claimed by the group.

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Scene outside Nasser Institute Hospital in where victims of latest attcak on were taken.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Friday he had ordered air raids on militant camps in Libya, where he said the Minya gunmen had trained, though he did not name a specific group responsible.

Sisi, who has presented himself as a bulwark against Islamist militants in the region, said Egypt would not hesitate to carry out additional strikes inside and outside the country to quash future threats.

Two military sources told Reuters that three additional air raids on Saturday morning struck the area of Derna, a city where east Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar, a close ally of Egypt, have been trying to gain control from Islamists and other opponents.

A source in Haftar’s Libyan National Army told Reuters that they had coordinated with Egyptian counterparts to strike ammunition stores belonging to the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council, an Islamist umbrella group that opposes Islamic State.

A resident in Derna told Reuters that warplanes were seen striking the Dahr Al-Hamar area in the southern part of Derna on Saturday. Egypt’s military spokesman declined to comment on the second round of strikes.

Egypt’s foreign ministry said it had delivered a letter on Saturday to the United Nations Security Council informing it that the strikes were conducted as an act of legitimate
self-defence, according to a ministry statement.

Derna has a history of Islamist militancy and is where Islamic State set up its first presence in Libya in 2014. However, the jihadist group was later chased from the city by local fighters and rival Islamists.

The east Libyan air force said Friday the strikes were targeting al-Qaeda linked forces and did not mention Islamic State.

Egypt’s military said in a statement it had “conducted several intensive day and night-time strikes” that successfully destroyed many targets, including training camps responsible for the Minya attack.

A video uploaded to the military’s Facebook page depicted fighter jets being armed with missiles and taking off as well as aerial footage of air strikes.

(REUTERS)

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© Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP (file photo) | Members of the Egyptian police special forces stand guard on Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square on January 25, 2016.

Relatives of a Christian woman who was killed in the bombing of Cairo's main Coptic cathedral carry her casked in Cairo on Monday.
Relatives of a Christian woman who was killed in the bombing of Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral carry her casked in Cairo on December 14, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS
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Members of the special police forces stand guard to secure the area around St. Mark"s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo

The building bombed in December 2016 is next to St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral, seat of the church’s pope. Reuters Photo

A Christian employee at Cairo's Coptic Cathedral checks for damage from the blast after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo

The interior of the church, where Christians had gathered, was also hit in the explosion. AP photo

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Islamist gunman Abdulgadir Masharipov killed 39 people  in the Reina nightclub shooting on January 1, 2017, in Istanbul. © Dogan News Agency/AFP/File

 (December 11, 2016)

David Dosha, the priest of the Church of Mart Shmoni, located in the Christian Iraqi town of Bartella. (Safin Hamed/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

An Iraqi Christian forces member lights a candle at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on October 30, 2016 in the town of Qaraqosh (also known as Hamdaniya), 30 kms east of Mosul, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (AFP/ SAFIN HAMED)
An Iraqi Christian forces member lights a candle at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on October 30, 2016 in the town of Qaraqosh (also known as Hamdaniya), 30 kms east of Mosul, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (AFP/ SAFIN HAMED)
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26 July 2016
A photo of Priest Jacques Hamel taken from the website of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray parish84 year-old Father Jacques Hamel was giving morning Mass when the Islamist attackers stormed his church. AFP

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The Isis jihadist group