Thursday, August 21, 2014

Libya Updates ( August 22 - 24 , 2014 ) --- As Libya turmoil continues , The Arab Leagues rejects Libya's call for foreign intervention.....

8/23/14 updates.....

Kh-29 Air-to-Surface Missiles Used as Unguided Rockets in Libya

In a series of photos coming out of Tripoli, Libya, it appears Islamists are now using highly sophisticated guided missile weaponry in the ground-to-ground role. The missile used was taken from a weapon depot near Ghardabiya airbase, near Sirte. The missile, a Kh-29T, normally uses TV-guidance to reach its intended target. In Libyan service, the…


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Is this the moment becomes failed state? Govt exiled from capital, where airport changes hands and unknown forces conduct air raids.

BREAKING: Islamists overrun international airport. Media reports.

Welcome to international airport. Aftermath of clashes.

Libyan militias say they have taken Tripoli airport

A tank belonging to the Western Shield, a branch of the Libya Shield forces, fires during a clash with rival militias around the former Libyan army camp, Camp 27, in the 27 district, west of Tripoli, August 22, 2014. (Reuters)
Libyan Islamist militates said on Saturday they claimed control over Tripoli international airport after 10 days of clashes with nationalist army men.
“Fajr Libya announces that it totally controls Tripoli international airport,” a statement shown on screen on An-Nabaa television, regarded as close to the Islamists, quoted the fighters in the Fajr Libya (Libyan Dawn) coalition as saying.
The strategic site 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of the Libyan capital, has been shut since July 13 amid skirmishes between the Islamists and nationalist fighters from Zintan west of Tripoli, who had held the airport since the 2011 fall of long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Death toll

Meanwhile, two airstrikes targeting the Islamist militia positions in Tripoli killed 15 fighters and wounded 30, the Associated Press reported a senior Islamist militia leader and a militia spokesman as saying.
The militia leader said the warplanes targeted the Interior Ministry and several militia positions, setting fire to a warehouse. He said two sons of the head of the military council of Misrata militias, Ibrahim Bin Rajab, were among the wounded. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to speak to journalists.

Mohammed al-Gharyani, the militia spokesman, said more than 30 fighters were wounded in the airstrikes but that the militia had not abandoned its positions, including the Interior Ministry, the army headquarters and the military police headquarters.

Al-Gharyani said militia fighters from other areas and towns were joining the Misrata forces and “our response will be severe.”

Khalifa Haftar’s forces

The air force of Libya's renegade general Khalifa Haftar on Saturday attacked positions of the militias in Tripoli for the second time in less than a week, Reuters reported one of his commanders as saying.

The faction under attack, Operation Dawn mainly from the town of Misrata, said the raids had killed 10 people and wounded dozens.

Haftar launched a campaign against Islamists in the eastern city of Benghazi in May. He threw his weight behind fighters from the western region of Zintan who are battling militia from the town of Misrata, east of Tripoli.

In the 2011 NATO-backed campaign to oust Muammar Gaddafi fighters from Zintan and Misrata were comrades-in-arms but they later fell out and this year they have turned parts of Tripoli into a battlefield.

Residents heard loud explosions early in the morning near the main airport where the two groups have been fighting for control for more than a month, in the worst fighting since the overthrow of Qaddafi.

Gharyani also said buildings of state oil firm al-Waha near the airport road were hit and the chief of staff headquarters under control of his forces.

Haftar’s air defense commander, Sager al-Jouroushi, told Reuters that the general’s forces were responsible for the attack. Haftar’s forces also claimed responsibility for air raids on Operation Dawn positions in Tripoli on Monday.

Who is behind the attacks?

After those raids Libyan TV channels speculated that the country’s neighbors might be behind the attacks.

Western countries and Egypt, worried about Libya becoming a failed state and safe haven for Islamist militants, have denied any involvement. The Libyan government has said it does not know who is responsible for the air attacks.

The North African oil producer has been in chaos as the weak government is unable to control former rebel factions which helped topple Gaddafi.


Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani called on Egypt and Tunisia to open its airspace again for flights to western Libya. Both countries had cancelled most flights to Libya for security reasons after the air strikes, cutting off a vital link to the outside for Libyans and foreigners fleeing fighting.

“This has a negative impact on movements of Libyan citizens and puts an additional burden on all people,” Libya’s embassy in Cairo said in an statement.

Libya has used the small Matiga airport in Tripoli for civilian traffic since the main airport was turned into a battlefield last month. The tower, runway and at least 20 aircraft have been damaged, officials have said.

When flying into Matiga, passengers can sometimes see smoke rising from battles in and around the main airport.

The violence has prompted the United Nations and foreign embassies in Libya to evacuate their staff and citizens, and foreign airlines largely stopped flying to Libya.

Tripoli has largely slipped out of control of the government, with senior officials working from Tobruk in the far east, where the new parliament has based itself to escape the violence in Tripoli and Benghazi.

Libya’s central government lacks a functioning national army and relies on militia for public security. But while these get state salaries and wear uniforms, they report in practice to their own commanders and towns.

Al Jazeera...


Deadly air strikes target fighters in Tripoli

At least 10 people killed after twin attacks on positions of militias allied to government in Libyan capital.

Last updated: 23 Aug 2014 15:28

Rival militias fight among each other for dominance in Tripoli [Reuters]
Two air strikes by unidentified planes have targeted positions of government-aligned fighters in Libya's capital, Tripoli, residents and a militia spokesman said.
Ten people were killed and dozens wounded, a spokesman for Operation Dawn, a bloc of Islamist-leaning forces mainly from Misrata, told the Reuters news agency.
Residents heard loud explosions early on Saturday morning near the main airport where militias have been fighting for control of the capital for more than one month.
Local channel al-Nabaa said the planes had attacked four positions of Operation Dawn. Buildings of state oil firm al-Waha located near the airport road were also hit, said Mohamed Gharyani, spokesman for Operation Dawn.
Forces of renegade General Khalifa Haftar who has launched a military campaign against Islamists in the eastern city of Benghazi claimed the attack, one of his commanders told Reuters.
His air force claimed responsibility for similar air strikes on fighters in Tripoli on Monday.
Libya is witnessing its worst spasm of violence since former leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011, with rival militias fighting among each other for dominance in Tripoli..
Many of the rebel brigades which helped overthrow Gaddafi have become powerful and heavily-armed, acting individually.


Egypt denies role in Tripoli air raid … - via

Libya says its defense minister sacked for providing militias with arms

Two airstrikes have targeted positions of government-aligned fighters in 's capital, .

Deadly airstrikes target fighters in Tripoli: At least 15 killed after twin airstrikes hit...
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Libya Herald....

A top Dignity commander injured in Benghazi clashes

By Noora Ibrahim.
Ashraf Al-Mayar pictured in June (Photo: Libya Herald)
Ashraf Al-Mayar pictured in June (Photo: Libya Herald)
Benghazi, 22 August 2014:
Salafist preacher and Operation Dignity Commander Ashraf Al-Mayar has received treatment at a Benghazi medical facility after he was shot during clashes with Ansar Al-Sharia.
Mayar was wounded in the early hours of yesterday morning during fighting in the Benghazi district of Buatni which has raged over the past week. The leader of Operation Dignity’s air forces, Air Force Brigadier-General Saqr Adam Geroushi, told the Libya Herald that Mayar was in a stable condition and was expected to make a full recovery.
Despite their ideological similarities there has been no love lost between Ansar Al-Sharia and Benghazi’s Salafists. Mayar was himself one of the founders of the 17 February Brigade which is now bitterly opposed to Operation Dignity. Mayar made the announcement of his surprise move to Operation Dignity in June, declaring his intention of helping fight terrorists in Benghazi. He has formed a new unit under the name of Sariet Al-Agha and has claimed it includes all those who quit 17 February Brigade with him.
Last month Ansar Al-Sharia was heavily implicated in a series of assassinations which targeted Salafist preachers. Three Imam’s connected to mosques in the Sidi Hussein area of Benghazi were killed in three days.
Fighting in Benghazi’s Buatni district continued yesterday. There were rumours that armoured brigades from Operation Dignity had spread out in South East Benghazi from Tobruk. However this information was denied by Dignity sources who said they had not deployed and further troops in the city.

Government warns private Libyan satellite TV channels against incitement

 By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 22 August 2014:
After the closure on Tuesday of the two official state satellite TV channels, Al- Rasmiya and Al-Wataniya, broadcasting via the Nilesat satellite, the Libyan government warned private satellite TV channels on Wednesday (20 August) against incitement.
It warned that if they are to continue in their broadcasts, it would take local and international legal action.
In its statement, the government said that the state owned channels were forcibly entered and their . . .

21 August 2014

‘Public execution’ in football stadium shows Libya’s descent into lawlessness

The video appears to show an execution-style killing organized by an armed group.
The video appears to show an execution-style killing organized by an armed group.
© YouTube/Libyan Proud
The Libyan authorities, with the support of the international community, must urgently address the breakdown of law and order that has persisted in Derna and elsewhere following the end of Colonel al-Gaddafi’s rule.
Amnesty International's Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui
A shocking video showing an execution-style killing by an armed group at a football stadium in eastern Libya highlights the authorities’ failure to prevent parts of the country from descending into violence and lawlessness, Amnesty International said today.

An amateur video published on social media sites shows the purported execution of an Egyptian man apparently organized by an armed group called the Shura Council of Islamic Youth in the eastern city of Derna.

“This unlawful killing realizes the greatest fears of ordinary Libyans, who in parts of the country find themselves caught between ruthless armed groups and a failed state,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

“Such acts can only lead to further human rights abuses in Derna, where residents have no recourse to state institutions and therefore no means to seek justice or effective protection from abuses.

“The Libyan authorities, with the support of the international community, must urgently address the breakdown of law and order that has persisted in Derna and elsewhere following the end of Colonel al-Gaddafi’s rule.”


Libya Herald....

Grand Mufti again backs Libya Dawn operation, calls Zintanis and allies “traitors”

By Ajnadin Mustafa. 
The head of the Supreme Fatwa Council grand mufti, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani
The Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani (file photo)
Tripoli, 21 August 2014:
The Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani, has again come out firmly in favour of Operation Dawn in Tripoli and Islamists in Benghazi, stating that no one should take a neutral position between them.
The Zintani Qaaqaa and Sawaq brigades and their allies in Tripoli and the Operation Dignity forces of retired General Khalifa Hafter in Benghazi were remnants of the Qaddafi regime and enemies of the revolution, he claimed. They were thieves who were responsible for all Libya’s miseries, he declared.
By contrast, the revolutionaries in Tripoli and the Revolutionaries Shoura Council of Benghazi (the umbrella organisation linking Ansar Al-Sharia, the 17 February Brigade and other Islamist bodies) were to be supported.  The media and politicians had to stop taking an impartial line when speaking about the two sides, he insisted. They had to  defend the revolutionaries and Islamists.
Ghariani who has spent the last three months in London, ostensibly for medical treatment, has roused fury among many Libyans who accuse him of inciting violence with his support for one side in the current crisis rather than promoting reconciliation. Some have gone so far as to suggest that he should be arrested and put on trial.
Several members of the House of Representatives as well as a number of religious scholars are meanwhile demanding he be sacked and a new Dar Al-Ifta be established which would be allowed to issue fatwas only if agreed by at least three out of a five member council, rather than by one man.
It is reported that the House will discuss Ghariani and a new fatwa body shortly. For his part, Ghariani has dismissed the House as illegitimate.

Day-long fighting near Tripoli’s airport road

By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 21 August 2014:
Fierce militia fighting in Tripoli which began this morning at around 9.30 died down at around four in the afternoon. Most of the activity appears to have been in the Hay Akwakh district where there are unconfirmed reports that Dawn forces used tanks and self-propelled howitzers.
This evening both sides were claiming that they were in control of the area, which lies just off the Airport Road. This part of the city has no military facilities and consists largely of multi-storey buildings, some up to eleven floors high. It has been claimed that up to 90 percent of the locals have already fled their homes, because of past fighting.
Both Zintani and Dawn forces are saying tonight that they are in control of Hay Akwakh. It has not been possible to contact any locals to obtain clearer information, not least on the destruction that has been caused.

Thousands continue to flee Tripoli fighting

By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 21 August 2014:
The number of Tripoli residents fleeing the fighting in the city continues to rise.
Although Tripoli Local Council’s Crisis Committee earlier this week estimated that some 43,500 people (some 7,240 families) had been displaced by the fighting there are no precise figures, mainly because many people are taking refuge with relatives elsewhere.
The real figure is believed to be far higher. Residential areas, such as west Janzour, have seen large number of residents leave. In Hay Akwakh by the Airport Road, currently scene of intense fighting between revolutionaries and Zintani forces supported by Abu Sleem fighters, virtually all the residents have fled.
Across the west of the country, towns have been organising accommodation for the capital’s refugees. Announcements are being made almost on a daily basis of new families being received. Yesterday the municipal council in Hawamid, 200 kilometres south east of Tripoli, in the Jebel Nafusa, announced that it had so far taken in 148 families and called on locals and civil organisations to help. One hundred and seventy kilometres south east of Tripoli, Bani Walid said it was preparing to host 700 families while Nalut last week said that in just two daysaid it had taken in 120 families.
Meanwhile, according the UNHCR, 12,000 people from Tripoli have sought refuge is Zawia to which it has sent a convoy of aid.
In Sirte, a Local Council official today told the Libya Herald, 410 families from had been accommodated, mainly from Tripoli but some too from Benghazi. Just four days ago, the figure was 120 families.
The official, Mohamed Al-Amyel, said that the refugees were being provided with some cash from the council “to put food on the table” and that the council was doing its best but that its resource were extremely stretched. It already had 1,400 refugees, mainly from Tawergha.
Problems were compounded by the fact that there was now a shortage of cash in the town, he said, resulting in a run on the banks. LD 5 million had been transferred from the Wahda Bank in Misrata to the Wahda Bank in Sirte last week but it had all bee withdrawn “in two days”, he stated.
There were also serious shortages of medicines at the town’s clinics and hospital, he said.
Further afield, Ajdabiya said today that it had provided accommodation for 250 families from Tripoli as well as Benghazi.
Many other residents in the capital have preferred to leave the country altogether.  According to a Tunisan official today, more than 100,00 Libyans have crossed the border over the past month to escape the clashes. Earlier it was reported that 6,000 people were crossing the border daily, most of them Libyans.
Other Libyans have gone to Turkey and Egypt, although the latter is all but closed with flights from Libya into the country now all but ended and the land crossing at Musaid again closed.

Arab League rejects Libyan call for foreign intervention

Last updated: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 9:31 PM

TRIPOLI — A senior Arab League official has criticized the call by the House of Representatives for foreign intervention to stem fighting between Libyan militias.

Arab countries should solve their problems without recourse to outsiders, said Fadel Mohammed Jawad, Arab League’s assistant secretary general for political affairs. At the most, he said, they should only turn to other Arab states for assistance.

Jawad, who had attended the HoR inaugural meeting last week, said in a statement Tuesday that the Arab League was following events in Libya “with great interest and concern”. It deeply regretted the death and destruction caused by rival militias. He also revealed that the organization had been discussing the crisis with Libya’s neighbors.

Even though he had condemned the new parliament’s call for foreign help, Jawad hailed it as a “major political step for the political process in Libya”.

He went on to say that despite the protests of a small group of members that the House was meeting in Tobruk instead of Benghazi, the league accepted that it as legitimate.

He hoped the HoR, with the help of neighboring and other Arab countries, could establish peace in Libya.

Meanwhile, the HoR questioned the Deputy Central Bank of Libya (CBL) governor and the deputy finance minister on the state of the country’s finances.

Other topics discussed on Tuesday included displaced civilians due to the warring militias, the ceasefire of fighting by militias in Tripoli called for by the HoR , the caretaker government and the issue of the chief of staff.

Representatives report that there are two main views in the HoR with regards to the status of the caretaker government. There is a group of representatives who are interested in keeping Abdullah Thinni as prime minister, but in charge of a thinned down “crises government” of no more than 10 ministers.

However, another group of representatives is interested in choosing a totally new prime minister of either a reduced government from the current set up or of a brand new government.

One contender for a new prime minister being mentioned is HoR member for Tripoli Center, Ali Tekbali. If this alternative is successful, Representative Tekbali would of course have to resign his seat as a HoR member as current laws preclude a person from holding both a position in the legislature and the executive.

It will be recalled that former prime minister Ali Zidan had also been a member of the legislature (GNC) before resigning to take up his position as prime minister in 2012. — Libya Herald

Tunisia, Cairo airport closes air routes to and from Libya

CAIRO — Tunisia and Egypt's Cairo airport have cancelled all flights to Libya, officials in the three countries said on Thursday.

Tunisian aviation officials gave no explanation but Libyan news agency LANA said Cairo airport authorities had cancelled flights to and from the neighboring country for security reasons.

The closure of airspace came after the Libyan government said on Monday unidentified war planes had attacked positions of armed groups in Tripoli fighting with a rival faction for control of the capital. — Reuters