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Iran Press TV

Libya's UN-recognized GNA forces launch 'offensive' against Haftar's militia south of Tripoli

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 23 April 2020 6:00 PM

Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) says its forces have launched an offensive against rebel militia loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar in southern parts of capital Tripoli.

The offensive against Haftar's forces occurred in the al-Khallatat area and led to the destruction of three armed vehicles, Turkey's state Anadolu news agency quoted Mustafa al-Majei, a spokesman for the GNA-led Burkan al-Ghadab Operation (Volcano of Rage), as saying on Thursday, adding that the fighting was still ongoing.

Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged in Libya, namely the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, known as the GNA, and another group based in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by rebel forces, collectively known as the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), under Haftar's command.

The strongman, who is primarily supported by the United Arab Emirate (UAE), Egypt, and Jordan, launched a deadly offensive to capture Tripoli, the seat of the GNA, in April last year.

Despite fierce fighting, he has so far failed to achieve his objective of ousting the GNA, and the offensive has stalled outside the city. Reports say that more than 1,000 have to date been killed in the violence.

Numerous international attempts to bring about peace between the two warring sides have failed.

The all-out Volcano of Rage operation, part of the larger Operation Peace Storm, was launched by GNA forces on Saturday to liberate Tarhuna city, which is Haftar's main foothold in west Libya.

The UN-backed government launched Operation Peace Storm on March 26 to counter Haftar's attacks on Tripoli.

The Libyan army has in recent days liberated a string of strategic cities located west of the capital, including Sabratha, Surman, and al-Ajaylat from the grips of Haftar's forces.

Fresh clashes around Tripoli escalated after Haftar's militia breached a March 21 humanitarian ceasefire aimed at facilitating efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the war-torn country.

As of Thursday, 60 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and one individual has died of the disease in the North African Arab country, Libya's official figures say.

Libya plunged into chaos in 2011 when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.



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