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Libya’s Haftar Threatens to Target Turkish Arms Shipments to GNA

Libya’s Haftar Threatens to Target Turkish Arms Shipments to GNA

Tuesday, 21 May, 2019 - 05:45
Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar
Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud
Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar threatened to attack any Turkish vessel that docks in western Libya and attempts to deliver weapons to the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Over the weekend, the GNA of Fayez al-Sarraj had received in broad daylight a weapons shipment from Ankara.

The GNA boasted on Saturday of new "armor, ammunition and... weapons" for its fighters.

It did not specify the source but posted photographs on its Facebook page of dozens of Turkish BMC Kirpi armored vehicles at Tripoli port.

The Moldova-flagged vessel which made the delivery belongs to a Turkish firm and set sail from a port in Turkey, according to navigation websites, reported AFP.

Arnaud Delalande, a defense consultant and specialist on Libya, interpreted the delivery as an apparent open show of support for the GNA.

The LNA’s naval forces decided to impose a complete embargo on western Libyan ports in compliance with Haftar’s orders to cut supplies to the GNA militias.

Commander of the LNA naval forces Faraj al-Mahdawi announced the complete mobilization of the units, threatening to strike any vessel that approaches the ports, especially Turkish ones.

Haftar, meanwhile, is preparing to travel to France for talks with President Emmanuel Macron.

Separately, Italian media reported that undisclosed negotiations have been taking place with Misrata through Rome’s mediation to reach a political solution with Haftar.

Powers in the western city, said that they were negotiating over withdrawing their forces from Tripoli in return for the LNA to refrain from entering Misrata, which lies some 200 kms east of the capital.

An LNA media officer, Khaled Mahjoub, hinted at these reports.

Misrata militias did not comment on the news.

The militias represent the bulk of the forces backing the GNA against the LNA advance on Tripoli. The fighters gained battle experience after fighting ISIS during the liberation of Sirte city that was the stronghold of the terrorist group in Libya.

Last week, Haftar paid a visit to Rome, a close ally of the Misrata militias, where he rejected a ceasefire proposed by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

On the ground, fierce fighting between the LNA and GNA forces was reported in Tripoli’s Khallet Alforjan and Hadaba areas in the outskirts of the capital.

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