NATIONAL Libyan TV on Monday carried an on-screen ticker reading: ‘The Al-Qa’qa and Al-Sawa’iq militias have targeted Jami’ al-Arusi in Hay al Andalus with four Grad rockets and mortars, and Ghot al-Sha’al (both places in Tripoli) with seven Grad rockets and mortars.’
The Al-Qa’qa and Al-Sawa’iq battalions are anti-Islamist militias that gave the former parliament General National Congress (GNC) an ultimatum to handover power after it had extended its own mandate beyond its end date in February.
A French Foreign Office spokesman denied French involvement in Libyan air strikes, saying: ‘Rumours of airstrikes in Libya, in which France was said to have participated, are unfounded.
‘France’s priority is to obtain a political agreement ending the fighting in Tripoli, Benghazi and throughout Libya.
‘We support the UNSMIL-led mediation effort on the ground and call on all stakeholders to participate.’
Unidentified warplanes on Monday bombed a small arms depot and other locations in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, that are controlled by Islamist-aligned militias, suggesting that a foreign state had intervened in the escalating battle for control of the city.
At least six people were killed. The origin of the planes remained ‘a mystery’. The airstrikes were beyond the capacity of the limited Libyan Air Force, and Libyan authorities said the planes had come from a foreign state. The United States, France, Italy and Egypt all denied responsibility.
Heavy fighting erupted around Al-Naqliyah camp near the airport road in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Monday, between forces taking part in the so-called; ‘Libya Dawn Operation’ and the allied brigades of Al-Qa’qa and Al-Sawa’iq.
Medium and heavy weapons and rockets were used in the fighting, leaving 10 people killed and scores injured. Battles have raged for the past 34 days between the forces for Preserving Security and Stability in Libya taking part in the (pro-Islamist) ‘Libya Dawn Operation’ and the two battalions that control the airport and camps around it.
The Libya Dawn forces made military advances, with the ‘fiercest fighting’ now raging for the control of Al-Naqliyah camp and the airport road, with hundreds on both sides killed and wounded since the launch of the operation on 13 July. Control of Al-Naqliyah camp would open the way for the forces to advance towards the airport.
In western Tripoli, fighters of the (Islamist) western Libya Shield backed by the Janzur Knights brigade and the Mobile Force recaptured the 27th camp. Gunfire, shelling and firing of rockets could be heard all over Tripoli, forcing more civilians to flee to nearby towns.
Speaking in a live interview Ala al-Huwayq, a spokesman for the Third Force, said that his unit and other forces taking part in the ‘Libya Dawn Operation’ have been able to reinforce every position that they have captured since the launch of the operation.
He cited as an example the capture of Al-Yarmuk and Hamzah camps and the training administration base, pointing to the latest ‘military victories on the ground, namely the General Staff Command, the equestrian college, the airport road and the equestrian bridge on that road’.
The forces took control of the airport road, ‘a lifeline linking Al-Naqliyah camp and the airport’, thus leaving supply lines and moving targets of rival fighters exposed to attacks by the revolutionary brigades and their allied Libya Dawn forces under the General Staff command, he explained.
That move enabled the forces to tighten the noose on Al-Naqliyah camp, by encircling it, be it from the rear through the so-called land neighbourhoods or from the front on the side near the airport road, he said.
Forces are taking up position in the proximity of the gate of Al-Naqliyah camp, reinforcing the encirclement of rival brigades and maintaining attempts to cut off their supplies, he added. The Libya Shield forces recaptured the 27th camp in western Tripoli and the area around it from rival fighters who had the camp’s outer walls torn down and its utilities destroyed before ‘wreaking havoc’ inside, Al-Huwayq said.
He added that ‘clearly the balance is tipping in favour of the revolutionary brigades and forces taking part in the “Libya Dawn Operation” under the General Staff command’.
On possible ceasefire offers made by the Al-Qa’qa or Al-Sawa’iq battalions, Al-Huwayq said that there were offers reported and circulated by the media but in practice no initiatives or proposals were presented by any committees.
The forces taking part in the current military offensive moved in ‘to seek redress and end injustices after the two militias robbed the state of its prestige and seized control of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defence, the General Staff, the airport, oil storage tanks and the electricity company’.
The forces acted, he said, to ensure ‘the dismantling of Al-Sawa’iq and Al-Qa’qa and the creation of a real nucleus for the Libyan army that would take over the weapons of the two brigades.’
The army would have to take custody of individuals involved in bloodshed and violations against Libyans and also those wanted for justice for having fought on the side of the former regime’s militias, he said, adding that they should be handed over as part of ‘a true initiative to build Libya’.
18 August National Libyan TV was observed to carry an on-screen ticker reading: ‘The national movement calls on residents of Tripoli to demonstrate this afternoon in Martyrs’ Square against the use of warplanes by the al-Qa’qa and al-Sawa’iq militias in the capital’ in an apparent reference to air strikes carried out on the morning of the same day in Tripoli.
But a spokesman for the Al-Qa’qa militia insisted that the militia has no information about who carried out the air strikes.
The Islamist-led Operation Dawn has accused retired Maj-Gen Khalifah Haftar and his supporters of carrying out the air strikes over Tripoli that targeted Operation Dawn locations overnight between 17 and 18 August.
Ahmed Hadiyah, spokesman for the Islamist Libya Shield militia, also accused Haftar and his supporters of being behind the strikes, although he said that he did not know where the planes had come from specifically, and said the attack was ‘unexpected’, and that he was ‘still unsure of the total death count.’
A report in English by Libyan privately-owned online news website Libya Herald read: ‘An Operation Dignity sergeant responsible for running supplies to and from Benina Airbase has been killed and then decapitated in Benghazi.’
Chief of the Sa’iqah Special Forces Investigations Unit, Fadil al-Hassi, confirmed the grisly killing but said he was unable to divulge the victim’s name.
There has been an increase in the use of decapitation as a tactic of intimidation in Benghazi and Derna (Darnah) in recent months. At the end of July a Filipino worker’s head was removed, allegedly because of his Christian faith. In May the severed head of a Derna student, who was said to have challenged an Islamist brigade, was found dumped in a mosque in the town.
This is the state that Libya has been reduced to by the imperialist intervention which organised islamist gangs for the overthrow of the anti-imperialist regime of Muammar Gadaffi.
NATO bombed Tripoli and Benghazi and provided air cover for the islamist movements to advance on Tripoli. When Colonel Gadaffi fled Tripoli for Sirte, NATO organised the siege of that city and French NATO planes bombed a convoy that Gadaffi was travelling in, wounding him and creating the conditions where he could be captured and stabbed to death by the islamists.
The islamist movements proceeded to take over the country and killed the US ambassador. Now imperialism is backing General Haftar, who returned from the United States to Libya in 2011 and to whom they are now looking to restore order.
Algeria has already refused to intervene in Libya and the US is now encouraging Egypt to provide Haftar with additional ground forces and air cover to impose himself on the country.
The majority of Libyans look back on the Jamariyah under Gadaffi as a golden age, snatched from them by NATO gangsters.
The way forward for Libyans is to organise a secular socialist revolutionary movement to overthrow the islamist bandits, form a revolutionary government that can act alongside the Algerian and Egyptian working class to build a socialist north Africa.