By Adam Ali.
Benghazi, 3 November 2013:
The Libyan National Army (LNA) has called on all residents in the Sabri . . .[restrict]district, the area just to the north of Benghazi’s port, to evacuate their homes.
Speaking on the pro-government television channel Libya Awilan last night, the spokesman for the General Chief of Staff Ahmed Al-Mismari said Sabri locals and those living in proximity to the port needed to have left the area before noon today. He said those who ignored the order “bore sole responsibility for their actions”. Mismari explained that the calls were “immediate, urgent and of paramount importance”.
The Sabri district, Benghazi’s commercial heart, has been the backdrop to some of the worst fighting in recent days between the government forces of the LNA and Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council (BRSC).
The seaport itself of is of crucial strategic importance. The LNA has claimed repeatedly that Ansar Al-Sharia and its allies in BRSC have received shipments of arms and other supplies through it.
The army has said since August that it would bomb any ships attempting to enter Benghazi after the port was taken by Islamist forces in June. Last month the LNA claimed to have sunk a vessel some 50 kilometres off the coast from Benghazi, which it said was heading to the city.
In September the airforce bombed the port itself although causing only minimal damage.