(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
General Khalifa Haftar who is loyal to the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) in the east has announced Operation “Al-Burkan” or Volcano last week in the coastal city of Derna in order to allegedly liberate it from terrorism.
Last month Haftar announced that he was launching an offensive against ISIS in Sirte after extremists overran the Abu Grein checkpoint in a surprise Suicide attack, despite being warned by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj to hold off on any separate campaigns against ISIS.
However, there have been no reports that Haftar’s forces were in the process of attacking Sirte. Instead, Haftar decided to launch an attack on Derna, whose Shura Council has openly opposed Haftar.
On April 20, the Derna Shura Council, a coalition of Islamist militants, announced that their forces were able to liberate the city from ISIS without any help from Haftar. ISIS militants took control of Derna in 2014 and both Shura Council fighters and Haftar’s forces have claimed that they were responsible for driving out ISIS from the city.
Haftar, who has repeatedly expressed his opposition of Islamists, whom he labels as terrorists, maintains that one of the aims of Operation Volcano is to defeat all terrorists from the city, according to Libya Observer.
On Saturday, the Derna Shura Council declared a state of emergency and announced that they were mobilizing their forces to prevent Haftar and his militia from advancing towards the city.