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LNA Captures Pro-GNA Mercenaries in Tripoli

LNA Captures Pro-GNA Mercenaries in Tripoli

Wednesday, 19 June, 2019 - 09:30
Clashes between GNA forces and LNA south of Tripoli (AFP)
Cairo - Khalid Mahmoud

The Libyan National Army’s (LNA) 140th Brigade said it had arrested a group of mercenaries tied to militias fighting for the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

Osama al-Juwaili gunmen were rounded up by LNA forces in parallel to clashes raging between the LNA and GNA south of the Libyan capital, where locals said fighter jets overflew Tripoli’s airspace relentlessly.

Meanwhile, Libya’s National Forces Alliance (NFA) voiced its unwavering support for LNA chief Khalifa Haftar after concluding its ordinary session in Cairo. The group also rejected a new political initiative proposed by GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj.

The NFA reaffirmed its backing for counter terrorism operations spearheaded by the LNA and called upon Tripoli residents to spread awareness among Libyan youth against joining paramilitaries. It also urged the redeployment and hand over of arms of existing militias in the capital.

More so, the predominantly liberal alliance called for lifting the international ban on arming the LNA.

According to the NFA, if the ban is removed, the army’s anti-terrorism operations will not only expand but will be able to clear more objectives in its fight against militias.

Participants at the NFA conference declared total rejection of the GNA’s initiative saying it laid the foundations for perpetual statelessness and maintains pre-existing security chaos which the LNA-led offensive is seeking to free the capital from.

The NFA’s final communique condemned Qatari and Turkish support for Tripoli militias presented in the form of arms and funding. Ankara and Doha were also accused of helping smuggle mercenaries and terrorists from hotbeds in Syria and Iraq to fight the LNA in Tripoli.

On another note, Maltese Ambassador to Libya Charles Saliba on Tuesday said Malta's government is willing to return its embassy to the capital Tripoli.

The diplomat made his remarks during a meeting with the GNA’s Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Metig in Tripoli, according to a statement issued by the prime minister's information department.

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