Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army / press photo Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army / press photo

Video: Haftar to declare Derna terrorism-free soon

Wed, May. 23, 2018
CAIRO - 23 May 2018: General Commander of Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, stated Wednesday that Derna will be declared terrorism-free soon, calling on soldiers to purge the city from terrorism, while keeping in consideration the safety of civilians.

In a televised speech aired earlier Wednesday, Haftar stressed that the army’s aim is to uproot terrorism, after terrorists had turned down all endeavors to avoid armed confrontation.

Haftar directed the army to take into consideration the safety of Derna’s residents and their properties, except for those who carry arms and fight against the Libyan people.
“After four years of holy struggle against the Kharijites, we are close to the liberation of Derna," Field Marshal Haftar said, warning his soldiers from terrorists’ ambushes.

LNA engaged in fierce clashes around the city of Derna on Tuesday; two soldiers were killed in a car bomb and another was abducted from a checkpoint.

The car bombing took place south-west of the city of Ajdabiya, while the soldier was abducted from a checkpoint south of Benghazi, a security source said.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the attacks. Islamic State militants have previously targeted checkpoints in the area.

Since Haftar's LNA stepped up its campaign to take control of Derna, fighting was the most intense in the south-west of the city, said Milad al-Zwai, spokesman of the LNA's Special Forces.

One commander was killed and two soldiers wounded, he said.

Derna is controlled by a coalition of Islamist militants and rebel veterans known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council (DMSC).

The LNA, which has been trying to consolidate its grip on eastern Libya after taking Benghazi last year, has encircled Derna and launched occasional air raids over the city.
Haftar announced he would "liberate" the city earlier this month.

According to medical sources and statements, LNA forces have lost about nine men and 14 DMSC members have been killed during recent clashes around Derna.

Contributed by Reuters
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