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Libyan National Army Prepares to Storm Tripoli in ‘Decisive’ Operation

Libyan National Army Prepares to Storm Tripoli in ‘Decisive’ Operation

Monday, 22 July, 2019 - 06:15
Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar. (Reuters)
Cairo – Khaled Mahmoud
A Libyan National Army (LNA) commander announced Sunday that the forces were preparing to launch a “decisive and lightening” operation to liberate Tripoli from criminal and terrorist militias.

Fawzi al-Mansouri told Asharq Al-Awsat that the forces will launch the operation within “the coming hours or days.”

“The troops are ready and they are only awaiting the orders of LNA commander Khalifa Haftar,” he added.

He described the army’s morale as “excellent” in wake of the advances it is making on the ground.

Haftar has ordered the troops to safeguard civilian lives and infrastructure during the Tripoli operation, Mansouri stated.

“The militias will either face death or imprisonment or flee,” he stressed. “This is a purely national battle… the people are required to cooperate with the army and prevent the militants from escaping.”

The LNA has effectively received training for the Tripoli operation after it succeeded in the past in recapturing the cities of Benghazi and Derna and others from the clutches of militias, he went on to say.

In Tripoli, the LNA will confront Turkey-backed militias, he said, revealing that a Turkish drone struck on Saturday army positions in Ain Zara in southern Tripoli.

Eight LNA members were killed in the attack. The army later announced that a similar drone was downed in the area.

This is the sixth Turkish drone to be shot down by the LNA since Haftar launched the operation to liberate Tripoli on April 4.

The military media office said: “The LNA is working around the clock to secure Libyan airspace and it will not allow the enemy to violate its sovereignty and threaten civilians and vital infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, United Nations envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame renewed on Saturday his call on Libyan parties to return to negotiations.

He met in Tunis with German Ambassador to Libya, Oliver Owcza, and discussed the current situation, including political and security challenges.

“They stressed the need to protect civilians, economic and civil infrastructure, protect migrants and revive the political track,” tweeted the UN mission in Libya.

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