LBy Sami Zaptia.
London, 15 April 2019:
Giving a round-up of fighting operations in Libya’s western region at a press conference yesterday, Major General Ahmed Al-Mesmari, the official spokesperson for the Libyan National Army (LNA) claimed that the LNA (and its allied forces) had ”some very successful” Air Force operations in Tripoli’s Kremia, oil tanks, and east of Tripoli areas targeting ‘‘militias and terrorist groups’’.
He claimed that their ground forces are ‘‘moving in seven axes’’ and are ‘‘approaching the centre of the capital Tripoli, especially through the Ain Zara axis’’. He claimed that ‘‘So far we have not registered any humanitarian breaches by our forces’’.
He said that ‘‘Good progress is being made in Salah Al-Deen and Kremia axes.Battles are ongoing around the clock with no stop. We expect in the coming few hours that there will be an eighth axis’’.
”Land operations are focused on destroying the enemy outside the capital Tripoli and targeting vehicles and armoured vehicles while also reducing the numbers of enemy combatants. The General Commander is very pleased with the wise command of this battle’’.
Mesmari said that ‘‘operations were attacked by air raids taking off from Misrata piloted by mercenary pilots who bombed a house and a company which caused the death of a family and three workers. The battle is in full effect, land, air and sea’, he explained.
He admitted his forces had ‘‘lost one of our fighter jets, a MiG-23, after the pilot lost control. The fighter jet could have been hit by a missile, but the hit might not be direct. The pilot Col. Jamal Ben Amer decided to eject because there were not any nearby airports’’.
He said his forces had received intelligence that ‘‘ (Tripoli) militias are capturing African workers and dressing them in military attire then showing them on media outlets as LNA fighters’’.
On the split in the city of Zintan, he said that ‘‘After the elders form the city of Zintan repudiated any who fight against the LNA, Osama Juwaily takes another route and abandons Zintan’s youth’’.
Juwaily a Zinani and former Minister of Defence in 2012 has aligned with the Tripoli Serraj side, splitting his city Zintan, but also weakening Hafter’s war effort. Some analysts say Hafter had calculated on Juwaily fighting on his side and has contributed to Hafter’s failure to penetrate Tripoli.
Mesmari went on to accuse Juwaily of trying to ‘‘contract (for) 350 mercenaries from Klenja, Chad to come through Al-Hameda area through Al-wadi Al-Ahamar. These mercenaries will be supplied by terrorist and human traffickers. We are tracking (other) terrorists who are based in Wadi Marset and working under Osama Juwaily who are committing highway robberies and stealing fuel trucks’’.
Mesmari then went on to claim connections between terrorists in Libya to Europe of well-known terrorist attacks that happened in three European cities: Paris, Berlin and Manchester.
He claimed documented connections between the ‘‘government controlling Tripoli’’ and ‘‘terrorists in Europe’’ and various other countries. He claimed CIA leaked documents show ‘‘undeniable evidence that Al-Qaeda has been in control of Tripoli since 2011.This included ‘‘an official within the Ministry of Justice controlling prisons for seven years’’.
He also claimed that the ‘‘British Secret Intelligence Service found out that the terrorist who committed the Manchester attack has received the command to commit the attack from Al- Qaeda organization in Tripoli’’.
He also said that German newspaper Die Zeit published a report confirming that the German Federal Intelligence Service has established links between a terrorist who committed the terrorist attack in Berlin, to terrorist groups in Libya.
He said that ‘‘unmanned drones spying on LNA forces and supplying militias and terrorist groups with intelligence’’ and that there are ‘‘foreign fighters fighting with the militias and terrorist groups in the capital Tripoli’’.
Mesmari said that they place these facts in front of Libyans and the world and that they were documenting everything that is happening on the ground.
‘‘The time for the national battle is over we are now in an international battle. We are fighting to defend the world and stop the spread of terrorism’’, he concluded.