(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Ongoing fighting between rivals vying for control of Benghazi killed 19 and wounded several more.
17 of those who were killed belonged to General Khalifa Haftar’s forces as they fought against the Shura Council of the Benghazi Revolutionaries (SCBR). 20 more of Haftar’s forces were wounded.
The SCBR according to Amnesty International is a group of armed militias that include Ansar Al-Sharia, group has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations.
Haftar’s forces launched an airstrike on Ganfouda district in Benghazi and other districts in the eastern city controlled by the SCBR.
Amnesty International has reported that the lives of around 130 individuals abducted in October 2014 have for the first time been seen since in a video issues by SCBR. They are being used as a human shield to deter Haftar’s forces from continued air strikes.
A military commander in the eastern region of Libya said that French, British and US soldiers are in Libya to “monitor” ISIS’s presence in Libya.
Saqr Al-Jaroushi, the air-force chief of Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR), said that there are about 20 foreign soldiers in Benina base “monitoring the movements of the Islamic State jihadists and how they store ammunition”.
“There are no [foreign] pilots fighting in the place of our pilots and fighters,” Al-Jaroushi said. But this does not explain why the Defending Benghazi Brigade (DBB) discovered French special forces in a helicopter shot down over a week ago.
Al-Jaroushi attempted to underplay the presence of Western forces in eastern Libyain response to the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli (GNA) summoning the French ambassador after France admitted the presence of its troops in eastern Libya. Prime Minister Al-Sarraj met with the ambassador to protest the presence of their troops in eastern Libya without seeking the permission of the GNA.
The French echoed Al-Jaroushi’s claims saying there troops were in Benghazi on an intelligence operation. The French have ignored their violation of Libya’s sovereignty by placing forces on Libyan soil without the permission of the GNA, the UN-backed and only recognized government internationally.
Haftar has continuously rejected the authority of the GNA and has remained adamant on maintaining a military operation in eastern Libya to protect his power and rid the region of any opposition, whether anti-haftar armed groups, community leaders, or civilian.