Rival Militias Declare Separate Operations in Defiance of the Supreme Commander of the Libyan Army

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)


Militiamen from Misrata, Libya’s third largest city, rushed to the Abu Grein and Sadada checkpoints on Friday after two ISIS suicide bombings killed eight and wounded over a hundred local security forces.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Abu Grein, which is located 120 kilometers south of Misrata, and has identified the suicide bomber as being a Tunisian fighter, reported SITE Intelligence Group.

Colonel Ibrahim Bel-Rajab, the head of the Misrata military council ordered all personnel under his command to immediately head to Abu Grein, Libya’s LANA news agency reported.

In addition, General Khalifa Haftar has launched a separate operation to take back Sirte, sending his own militiamen to the ISIS held coastal city.

These unsanctioned military operations are in direct defiance of the UN-backed Government of National Accord’s (GNA) warning to all armed groups to refrain from carrying out any separate attacks against ISIS held Sirte without permission.

On Friday, The GNA’s Presidential Council (PC) announced the establishment of a new military operation room to oversee the campaign against ISIS in a statement signed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.  The military operation will be headed by General Bashir al-Qadi, it said.

Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, whose Presidential Council has assumed the function of Supreme Commander of the Libyan Army, warned that only a unified military operation would allow Libyans to finally eradicate the ISIS threat.

In addition, he stressed that extremist forces in Libya are taking advantage of a lack of a united military to expand their operations in the country. Last year ISIS militants took advantage of Libya’s security vacuum and political conflict and established a stronghold in Sirte.

Separate offensives against ISIS in Sirte by Libya’s various armed groups and militias could lead to a confrontation between various military forces and plunge the country into civil war.  

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