17-27 May: GNA –aligned forces attack Brak al-Shatti

May 23, 2017 | Libyan actors

On 18 May, Misratan led-Third Force and units from the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) affiliated with the Government of National Accord (GNA) conducted an attack on Brak al-Shatti airbase controlled by Libyan National Army (LNA) in south-west Libya. The surprise attack left at least 74 LNA fighters dead and ended the temporary pause in violence since LNA commander Khalifa Haftar and GNA prime minister Fayez al-Serraj met in the UAE earlier this month. This initiated accusation from the LNA that the GNA attack broke the unspoken ‘ceasefire’ between the rival forces in south-west Libya.

 Although in a statement on 19 May, the GNA publicly blamed the LNA for escalating the conflict in south-west Libya—thus provoking the militant reaction, top GNA leadership denied it had ordered the attack. This statement contradicts Third Force commander Jamal al-Triki’s proclamation that the GNA instructed the attack. On 20 May, the GNA announced an investigation into the incident, suspending both its Defence Minister Mahdi al-Barghathi and Jamal al-Triki until its resolution.