Eastern Libyan commander orders forces to move on Tripoli

Eastern Libyan commander orders forces to move on Tripoli
  • Clock-gray 11:25
  • calendar-gray 05 April 2019

After years of sabre-rattling, eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar ordered his troops on Thursday to march on the capital Tripoli, escalating a conflict with the internationally recognized government, ONAreports citing Reuters.

Seeking to encircle the capital his forces approached from south and west, seizing one town south of the city before stopping for the night some 60 km (37 miles) south of Tripoli, eastern officials said.

The offensive marked a dramatic escalation of a power struggle that has dragged on in Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The capital is the ultimate prize for Haftar’s eastern parallel government. In 2014 he assembled former Gaddafi soldiers and in a three-year battle seized the main eastern city of Benghazi, then this year took the south with its oilfields.

The offensive surprised the United Nations, whose Secretary-General Antonio Guterres flew on Wednesday to Tripoli to help organize a reconciliation national conference.

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