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Egypt: Sisi arrives in UAE with Hafter and Serraj still in Abu Dhabi

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Egypt try to play a diplomatic role at regional level, especially in Libyan peace process. Indeed, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah Sisi has arrived in the UAE for talks with Emirati leaders, but also reportedly to see Khalifa Hafter and Faiez Serraj who remain in Abu Dhabi. Even if information is not confirmed by authorities, Al Sisi would meet President Council head and Libyan National Army (LNA) chief during the official visit. Egypt has stressed Haftar, during last weeks, to move toward a Libyan accord to reach Libyan stability, in February 2016, Haftar refused to meet a est Libyan delegation in Cairo.

LNA said to have 5,000 troops at Brega, in preparation for a second counterattack on the RasLanuf and Sidra

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The Libyan National Army is said to have massed 5,000 troops with tanks and artillery in the  Brega area in preparation for a second counterattack on the RasLanuf and Sidra export terminals lost to Benghazi Defence Brigades-led forces on Friday and Saturday. There are reports that armed forces commander-in-chief KhalifaHafter made a brief visit to Cairo today. It is not known whom he met. Air force commander SaqrGeroushi who is believed to have suffered a heart attack  yesterday is understood to have been flown to Cairo for treatment. The concentration of LNA units came as the air force continued air strikes against BDB positions in and around  RasLanuf and Sidra. Meanwhile eight solders are reported to have been killed in a battle at Al-Uqaylah, the small town to which the LNA retreated after being pushed out of the two oil ports.  Casualties among the BDB and their supporting forces are not known.  LNA spokesmen Colonel Ahmed Mismari maintained that casualties had been high and that the BDB had been commandeering ambulances to ferry their dead and wounded away to the west. Despite or perhaps because of the urgent call on men and equipment to the west, LNA commanders appeared to have stepped up their operation to take the last parts of the 12 Apartment complex in Ganfouda, a battle which has now lasted over five weeks.  It is claimed that an ammunition store was discovered today in one of the buildings.  At the same time there has been shelling of Sabri, the downtown Benghazi  militant stronghold which was also strafed by at least one helicopter gunship. UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler has  today warned that the escalating battle in the Oil Crescent could ignite a wider conflict.

Libyan National Army reportedly retakes Ras Lanuf and is advancing on Sidra

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There are reports this evening that the Libyan National Army has retaken Ras Lanuf from the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) and is now heading toward Sidra 16 kilometres to the west. Since yesterday’s successful assault by the BDB on Ras Lanuf and its neighbouring export terminal at Sidra, the LNA has been rushing forces to the oil crescent. Meanwhile, overnight and today there has been a series of air raids. The LNA claimed that the aircraft had targeted BDB vehicles but it appears that buildings were also hit in Ras Lanuf. At least 15 soldiers have been killed in the last 48 hours and ten are known to be wounded. Dead and injured have been taken to Magarief hospital in Ajdabiya. There are no casualty figures for BDB fighters. The LNA is claiming that some of its soldiers were executed after being captured. It has produced images of four corpses all wearing some form of battle dress. Two have clearly received wounds to the head.  None of them had had their hands bound. The main LNA counterattack, code-named “Crushing Lightning” was launched from Brega. The town’s university had been evacuated overnight.

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