In a pre-recorded speech marking nearly 30 days since his arrival into Tripoli, the head of the UN backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj called for a united Libya. He said there were many challenges facing his government, which in order to begin operating has yet to receive the endorsement of the country's elected parliament. He announced plans for a concerted campaign to drive the Islamic State group out of the North African country, but without foreign intervention.
Social media reports and pictures showed factions from both eastern and western Libya could be gearing up for an advance on Sirte. In the southwest and east on Tuesday, 1,000 plus men left Ghabghab, the main Army base at Marj. The convoy consisted of armoured personnel carriers and pick-ups that were shipped to Tobruk from the UAE last weekend. From the West, Misratan forces, believed to be around 3,000, headed toward Sirte for a three pronged assault as Operation AL Ghardabiyah two started taking shape.
The unity government's leadership said it welcomed the "push by various factions and armed forces to fight Islamic State forces in Sirte", but warned that an uncoordinated offensive could lead to civil war. "In the absence of coordination and unified leadership, the council expresses its concern that the battle in Sirte against Daesh (Islamic State) will be a confrontation between those armed forces". The unity government fears that separate operations in Sirte could spark clashes between the multitude of different fighting forces in Libya and play into the jihadists' hands.
As the convoy pushed west from Misrata, International newspapers reported that ISIS ambushed a Sirte bound convoy of Italian, British and Libyan Special forces from Misrata on Wednesday. All governments have denied the attack and the existence of such a group.
A second major maritime migration accident occurred in as many weeks off the coat of Sabratah. 84 migrants are still missing after an inflatable craft sank whilst trying to disembark the African nationals to a mother ship.
A tanker with oil from eastern Libya returned with its cargo to the North African country after the United Nations blacklisted the shipment, amid an escalating struggle between the nation’s rival governments for control of its crude oil wealth.
The capital has seen a notable rise in incidents this week mainly criminality with kidnappings and a targeted killing of a young Lieutenant; however the street clashes reported a few weeks back have remained quiet.
In Bani Walid, south of al-Khums Smugglers clashed with illegal immigrants on Wednesday, killing 19. Sources stated that the smugglers and victims had a dispute which led to the incident.
General Hafter’s men have continued their clearance operations in Benghazi as it was reported that 25 of Saiqa Special Forces soldiers died in fighting in April, a further 93 were wounded. This is in addition to the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) documented 47 civilian casualties, including 33 deaths and 14 injuries in the same month.
Libyan warplanes launched a new wave of air raids targeting militant groups in the city as LNA came under attack from small pockets of militants. Clearance and holding operations are still taking place however, this is a slow process with casualties being inflicted by mines and booby traps.
Derna residents witnessed continued activity as LNA forces try to flush out IS militants as it is believed they are withdrawing to Sirte. LNA helicopters assisted with the clearance operations as demonstrations took place condemning the civilian casualties but at the same time welcoming the freedom of the city.
The south has remained reasonably quiet with some reports of smugglers clashing over internal feuds.
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