By Saber Ayyub.
Tripoli, 17 April 2015:
Armed clashes between Libya Dawn and local forces in Tajoura supporting the Libyan National Army (LNA) . . .[restrict]intensified during the day with latest reports of a camp outside the west Tripoli suburb used by Dawn forces being bombed by Libyan National Army (LNA) aircraft. Other reports state that pro-LNA Tajouran fighters, principally Brigade 101, have seized a separate camp being used by Dawn.
The clashes have now spread to Ghararat, between Tajoura and Suq Al-Juma which supports Dawn. There, forces belonging to Abdul Raouf Kara, based at Mitiga airport, are said to be using heavy artillery, including tanks and armoured vehicles.
The situation has been fast developing during the day. Libya Dawn this afternoon claimed to be fully in control of Tajoura, having allegedly beaten back the pro-LNA forces. It says it took control of the local young offenders detention centre from Tajouran fighters, defeated an attempt by the latter to seize the Counter-Crime building early this morning and also thwarted an attempt by Brigade 101 to take Camp 32 on the main highway opposite the heart hospital.
However, the fighting is evidently far from over. According to one Tajoura resident, many streets in the district have remained blockaded since the early morning and local militia forces have instructed shops’ owners to close them.
Streets in and out of the suburb are also closed and the sound of firing loud. The main coastal highway was cut and it’s not clear if it has reopened.
In a statement today, Dawn accused forces in Tajoura of attacking local citizens on Wednesday, blockading the streets and stealing vehicles. Orders had been given, the statement read, to revolutionaries and armed forces under the Tripoli Operations Room to move deal with the issue.
A convoy of 50 armoured vehicles is now said to be heading from Misrata towards Tajoura.
The LNA have promised further strikes on LD positions in and around Tajoura.
The clashes started last Tuesday when Libya Dawn accused Tajoura fighters belonging to Brigade 101 of killing five of their soldiers during a raid against Wadi Rabie barracks, east of Tripoli International Airport.
The attack is seen as a new development in the fight on the western front between, Zintani and the Warshafani forces backing the LNA and Libya Dawn on the other side – with Tajoura now coming out firmly in support of the LNA. It holds a strategic position of major importance, controlling the eastern access to the capital from Misrata as well as the road to Mitiga airport.
The raid followed the decision by Misrata forces, operating in Tajoura, to pull back to Garabulli, some 50 kilometres west of Tripoli, allegedly because they wanted to avoid becoming embroiled in the deteriorating situation between Tajoura and Suq El-Juma.
Meanwhile clashes has also intensified in Fashloum. These started yesterday when forces belonging to Kara arrested four prominent local youths, ostensibly on the grounds that they were involved in drug dealing, an accusation rejected locally. According to local reports, they are opposed to Libya Dawn and were arrested to prevent them instigating military action in the district.