By Ali Salem.
Tripoli, 3 December 2014:
The government in Beida this afternoon formally announced that the Libyan National Army (LNA) had started . . .[restrict]the operation “to liberate Tripoli of the armed militias”. The statement comes a week and a half after senior military officials told the Libya Herald the same thing.
In Statement No. 25/2014, the government stated that the operation was against the militias that had “seized the capital by force, assaulted the headquarters of the legitimate government and terrorised the city’s civilian population by kidnappings, assassinations, raids and threats”.
The LNA would not target individuals who took no action, whatever their loyalties, it said, but would attack those using force, or endangering the public or public and private property. All necessary procedures to guarantee the safety of residents during the operation and to keep safe vital institutions, public buildings, private property and diplomatic premises were being taken, it added.
The government called on those in the militias to surrender, promising them they would be treated well. It also told Tripoli residents to cooperate with the LNA.
The declaration follows aircraft thought to belong to the LNA flying overhead and explosions heard last night the capital’s Hadba and Salahaddin districts.
Residents in the two areas reported hearing a jet plane flying overhead and then explosions. However, the Libyan Air Force on its Facebook page said that only a routine reconnoissance flight over Tripoli had been made.
The explosions in Hadba may have been related to reported clashes there. A camp in the district was being used by Nawasi No 2 Brigade as a prison for those it claimed were drug dealers and murders. It was attacked on 30 November and in the ensuing clashes all the inmates managed to escape. The camp commander, Muammar Aburawi, said to be a hardline Islamist, also known as Abu Halima, was killed in the event. He was buried the next day.