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Libya government claims France soldiers among Haftar forces

A protestor carries a banner reading "France hands off Libya" during a protest against Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar's offensive to seize Tripoli, on 12 April 2019. [Hazem Turkia - Anadolu Agency]
A protestor carries a banner reading "France hands off Libya" during a protest against Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar's offensive to seize Tripoli, on 12 April 2019. [Hazem Turkia - Anadolu Agency]

 The Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) claims to have spotted French soldiers serving among the forces of General Khalifa Haftar.

Commander of the GNA’s First Infantry Brigade, Mustapha Al-Machai, claimed to have spotted six cars carrying French soldiers who had been stationed at Haftar’s operations room in the city of Gharyan, south of Libyan capital Tripoli.

 

During a statement to Alahrar TV, Al-Machai also confirmed that clashes with the remnants of Haftar’s forces escaping from Gharyan have been ongoing since Thursday morning in the Umm Al-Baqarah area, ten kilometres south of Al-Shaqiqa.

 

The commander added that a counterterrorism force – which consisted of youth from Mashashia, Al-Shaqiqa and Mizdah – blocked a group of Haftar militants heading toward ​​Al-Arban and Alasaba.

 

READ: Libya’s Supreme Council calls on Haftar supporters to withdraw

 

The “Volcano of Anger” – the GNA’s counteroffensive against Haftar forces which has been ongoing since April – announced on Sunday that its forces had taken control of Gharyan. The operation took less than 24 hours and was planned with support from the Libyan Air Force.

 

The operation’s field commander, Hakim Tanish, stated that Haftar’s forces retreated from Gharyan and headed towards Alasaba and Tarhuna. He added that the field commander of Haftar’s forces, Adel Da’ab, was injured and his companions were killed during the clashes.

 

During an interview with Alahrar TV, the mayor of Alasaba Saad Al-Shartaa denied the existence of Haftar forces inside the city, claiming that most of the gunmen withdrew towards the south of Gharyan and the area of ​​Al-Arban.

 

READ: Egypt, UAE send military support to Libya’s Haftar

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