By Libya Herald reporters.
Benghazi, 20 November 2016:
In the wake of an apparent collapse by the enemy, the army is now confidently predicting the end game in the fight against militants holed up in Ganfouda. In the last four days, soldiers have retaken some 20 square kilometres of this south-western part of Benghazi.
Resistance by the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council and its IS and Ansar Al-Sharia terrorist allies appears to be crumbling. The army’s mood of confidence is shared by Benghazinos. Since the capture two days ago of a Grad rocket launcher that had long been firing randomly, the city’s restaurants and coffee bars have been noticeably busier with more people strolling in the evening streets.
Fighting has been relatively low-key today, possibly because a fresh army assault is being prepared. A would-be suicide bomber ran from his car after it overturned in a hail of gunfire. Troops yelled mockingly after him because painted on the vehicle were the words “I’m dead already”.
For the last two days there have been regular air strikes on the area of Ganfouda in which the terrorists are now confined. One army source estimated it covers less than six square kilometres.
After the high death toll of recent days, at least 40 troops died and scores were injured, only three soldiers died today, one of them a mine clearer who was hit by a sniper. Details of militant dead continue to be scarce. The BRSC did however say tonight on social media that its “mufti” had been killed but it did not name him. Yesterday it claimed to have damaged a tank with an RPG.
Troops said they had captured a militant from Derna who had been near a weapons store.
Meanwhile soldiers are still excavating a multiple burial discovered on Friday to the east of Ganfouda which contains at least four bodies.
Last week army spokesmen were warning of an imminent renewed assault on the export terminals of the so-called Oil Crescent by Misratan-led forces in the west. There has been no sign of such an attack developing. However, the military has announced that a new forward airbase has been established at the airfield at Ras Lanuf, to the west of the oil terminal and refinery. No details have been given of what type of aircraft will be based there, so close to what be the frontline in any new conflict. It has however announced the base commander will be a pilot, Sharif Othman Mohamed Saad Alawami.