Haftar Says Derna Liberation is Close

Haftar Says Derna Liberation is Close

Thursday, 24 May, 2018 - 05:30
LNA forces seen ahead of Haftar's announcement on the launch of Derna operation. AFP
Cairo - Khalid Mahmoud
Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar has said his troops were tightening the noose on the last extremist bastion in the country's east after breaking through the suburbs of Derna.

In a speech, Haftar said: "We are close... to liberating our country from the last bastion of terrorism.”

The LNA was "near victory", he said, calling on his forces to protect civilians and their property and to treat prisoners well.

Medical sources said that nine LNA members and 14 extremists have been killed in the recent clashes that took place in the suburbs of Derna.

The LNA has formed a military commission to broker a deal with the extremists to surrender.

By Tuesday, around 40 fighters had surrendered, a security official said.

Haftar launched the offensive on May 7 to liberate the eastern coastal city.

Meanwhile, France plans to hold an international meeting in Paris with Libyan political leaders to push for an agreement.

According to a diplomatic cable sent to several countries, French President Emmanuel Macron would convene the meeting "very soon" in Paris.

A Libyan official said the meeting, which will be attended by representatives from the United Nations, European Union, African Union and the Arab League, would be held on May 29.

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