Haftar pushes for Tripoli advance


Libyan Commander Khalifa Haftar urged his forces to advance towards the centre of Tripoli in what he said would be the “final battle” for the capital.

Haftar, who heads the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), launched an offensive in April to take control of Tripoli which stalled on the outskirts of the city.

“Today we announce the decisive battle and advancement toward the heart of the capital to set it free …advance now our heroes,” Haftar said in a televised speech broadcast on Thursday.

His forces often issue announcements of advances or decisive military action followed by little concrete change on the battlefield.

“Our forces are ready to fight any new insane attempt,” by Haftar to attack the city, Libya’s al-Ahrar channel quoted Tripoli’s interior minister Fathi Bashagha as saying.

Haftar is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and most recently Russian mercenaries, according to diplomats and Tripoli officials. The LNA denies it has foreign backing.