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Libya's Haftar announces offensive to capture Derna

North Africa | 2018-05-08 16:26:00
Libya's Haftar announces offensive to capture Derna
Khalifa Haftar, commander of Libyan forces backed by the Tobruk-based parliament, has announced the launch of a military offensive to capture Libya's northeastern city of Derna.

Derna was captured by the Shura Council of Mujahideen after the expulsion of Daesh from the city in 2014.

In a speech delivered late Monday at the Tobruk parliament to mark the fourth anniversary of the Al-Karama military offensive, Haftar said: "We declare zero-hour to liberate the city of Derna."

"I gave strict instructions to my forces to protect civilians… and abide by international humanitarian law," the general affirmed.

Four years ago, Haftar’s forces surrounded the city of Derna in a bid to capture it from the Shura Council of Mujahideen, which is described as "terrorists" by pro-Haftar forces -- a designation dismissed by the council.

"Peace efforts in Derna have reached a deadlock after more than three years," Haftar added.

Haftar went on to attribute the deadlock to "terrorist gangs" in the city, affirming that "they aim to separate the city from the [rest of the] country”.

The Shura Council of Mujahideen in Derna was formed in December 2014 with a view to confronting pro-Haftar forces, who, since then, have imposed a blockade on the city.
Anadolu Agency
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