Few days ago, Libyan Field Martial Khalifa Haftar had announced a “decisive battle” for the capital Tripoli, eight months after he launched an offensive to wrest it from the unity government.
“Zero hour has come for the broad and total assault expected by every free and honest Libyan,” he said in a speech aired by the pro-Haftar Al-Hadath channel.
Dressed in military uniform, he announced “the decisive battle and the advance on the heart of Tripoli”.
“Now move forward, each to his own goal,” he ordered his troops.
Since the fall and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi in 2011 in a NATO-backed uprising, Libya has been torn apart by violence between multiple armed groups, many of them backed by foreign powers.
Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army, which controls much of the country’s east, launched an assault on April 4 to seize Tripoli from the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
Haftar says the GNA is backed by “terrorist” groups.
The GNA said that the situation was “under control” and that its troops were holding their positions in the capital’s south.
“We are ready to push back any more mad attempt by the Haftar putsch leader,” said GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha on Libya al-Ahrar television.
Haftar had foreseen a quick victory, but despite vowing in July that success was “imminent”, his forces have remained bogged down on the outskirts of the capital.
At least 200 civilians and more than 2,000 fighters have been killed since the start of Haftar’s assault on Tripoli, according to the United Nations. The fighting has also displaced some 146,000 people.
“Zero Hour” of Haftar’s Forces Caused UAE and Russia Heavy Damage
After the Khalifa Haftar told his forces on the outskirts of Tripoli that their Zero Hour for attacking the capital and entering its neighborhoods had come, they led a heavy attack on different frontlines in southern Tripoli but were faced by even heavier repelling force by Volcano of Rage Operation forces and armed brigades under the command of the Libyan Presidential Council.
The most ferocious clashes took place in Al-Tughar district in southern Tripoli, where violent fighting between the two sides continued for hours on Friday, yet in the end, Volcano of Rage Operation forces seized full control of the district, destroying 4 UAE-made military vehicles for Haftar’s forces.
The media office of Burkan Al-Ghadab Operation (Volcano of Rage) said several fighters from Haftar’s forces were killed in the fighting in Al-Tughar, including Janjaweed mercenaries.
On other frontlines, the forces of Volcano of Rage Operation repelled all attempts by Haftar’s forces, backed by Russian mercenaries and Sudanese as well as Chadian rebels and a number of Russian troops, in their attempts to advance on the neighborhoods of Tripoli.
The forces under the command of Government of National Accord (GNA) also announced Friday that they had destroyed a Russia-operated operations room on Al-Tawaisha frontline in southern Tripoli and an ammunition depot as well.
While on Saturday morning, a military source from Volcano of Rage Operation told Ean Libya that their warplanes had destroyed the military police building in Tarhouna, killing several of Haftar’s fighters, adding that over 23 bodies from Haftar’s forces killed in Friday battles arrived in Omar Askar Hospital in Esbea district.