17 July – 23 July: LNA launches “second wave” assault on Tripoli

Jul 23, 2019 | Libyan actors

Throughout last week, there were reports of an imminent Libyan National Army (LNA) “second wave” assault on the capital, with LNA forces allegedly “ready and awaiting” to “storm” the capital within the coming days. On 18 July, the High Council of State (HCS) published a statement accusing France, the UAE, and Egypt of assisting the LNA with its preparations for its “second wave” assault, claiming they would be providing aerial support.

On 21 July, the LNA spokesperson, Ahmed al-Mismari, said the LNA had drawn up its final plan to capture Tripoli, involving protecting government institutions and diplomatic missions. In response, the Government of National Accord (GNA) expressed its concern over any escalation of LNA violence in Tripoli and affirmed its readiness to deter and defeat any renewed assault on the capital. The GNA has stated that the new wave of attacks intends to target vital facilities in Tripoli, including Mitiga airport.

On 22 July, at 9am local time, the LNA’s second wave was launched. This saw attacks on all fronts, with accompanying air cover and a strong push on Khallit al-Furjan in an attempt to break towards the city centre. On 22 July, Mitiga airport in Tripoli temporarily suspended air traffic after it was attacked by an airstrike. The GNA’s Burkan al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) operation claimed to have foiled the attacks and gained “advanced positions in certain frontlines”.

On 22 July, a Libyan National Army (LNA) L-39 Albatross fighter jet made an emergency landing on a road in Beni Khadash in eastern Tunisia. Tunisian defence ministry officials reported that the pilot, who is an LNA colonel, landed in Tunisia due to technical difficulties. The plane is thought to have been travelling between al-Watiya and Brak al-Shati air bases (both LNA-controlled) in western and south-western Libya respectively. The LNA has not formally commented on the incident. The Government of National Accord (GNA) has stated the plane does not belong to its fleet.