Other — 22 August 2016

Aug 22, 2016 | Other Jihadi Actors

Conflict continues in eastern Libya between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the coalition of jihadists in Benghazi. The LNA made gains in Gwarsha and Ganfuda this week, despite suffering more heavy losses from mortar fire and IED’s on 16 and 19 August.  On 20 August, the LNA captured the European Hospital and three of the main streets in Benghazi’s Gwarsha district. On 21 August, Al Nairouz beach in Ganfuda was also taken by the LNA, further tightening the noose around the jihadists. According to the LNA spokesperson, the main issue now, is clearing the large amount of mines and IEDs left by the jihadists. The jihadists are reportedly using a new tactic to defend themselves, setting fire to buildings to create smoke screens so that the air force cannot target them. Meanwhile, General Khalifta Haftar has arrived in Benghazi to personally oversee the final assault in western Benghazi.

In Derna, the LNA operation room responsible for conducting operations against the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC) was reorganized by Haftar this week, indicating a likely uptick in military confrontation in the coming weeks.  The move follows two successful attacks conducted by the DMSC on LNA units near Derna last month, in which 12 LNA soldiers were killed. Outgoing commander Kemal Al Jebali, was reportedly unpopular with his men and ineffective as a leader.  He was also seen as too willing to accept ceasefires rather than pursuing military action. His replacement, Brigadier General Yousef Al-Mabrouk Al Mansuri was most recently a military advisor to the President of the House of Rerpresentatives, Ageelah Saleh.