The US and Libya’s Government of National Accord signed a security cooperation agreement, which includes a memorandum of intent for airport security and a letter of agreement to support Libyan policing, prisons and justice sector development. The agreement provide technical assistance in the field of criminal justice through training as well as the installation of a system to verify the authenticity of travel documents at airports and Libyan borders.
Fighting erupted this evening near Gasr Ben Ghashir, next to Tripoli International Airport, between units mainly belonging to Tripoli strongman Haithem Tajouri and forces from Tarhouna. There has been considerable confusion as precisely who the latter are. Local reports say that they are members of the Islamist-leaning Marghani brigade led by Salah Al-Marghani and his nephew Sharif. However, some reports claim they are now Qaddafi supporters and support the Libyan National Army.There are also reports of Tarhouna’s notorious Kani Brigade being involved, but this time not with Marghani but with Tajouri. They are said to have created a new and unexpected alliance with him against their erstwhile Marghani allies. The reason for the clashes is also less than clear. Local reports say that Tajouri had launched a pre-emptive attack after being told that the Tarhouna forces were rallying to move against the capital.
A major attack on the court buildings in Misrata this morning is reported to have killed four people and seriously injured 15.At least a further 25 are said to have been wounded in what appears to have been a coordinated assault for which the so-called Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility. The court was in session when it was attacked around 11.30 am by three men who started shooting.It was initially suggested that the assault may have been an attempt to free IS members who were on trial.However, the mayor of Misrata, Mohamed Eshtewi, has said that no IS trial was taking place.The shootout lasted for over half an hour during which the judicial police and support units that arrived to help them managed to kill one of the attackers. Reports of a car bomb outside the court were not true. Defence ministry and formerly Bunyan Marsous spokesman Mohamed al-Ghasri has said that the attack targeted the head of the court, Assadik Badi, saying it was in revenge for statements he had made about IS.
A study by EUNPACK, www.eunpack.eu authored by Chiara Loschi and Luca Raineri, on the perceptions of the EU’s crisis response in Libya has concluded that EU crisis response in Libya should pay greater attention to security sector reform (SSR) as a pillar of crisis response in Libya. It says that it is formed of a consortium of 13 researchers with a special competence on the EU and specialists on peace and conflict studies within different sectors and/or regions from Norway, UK, Germany, Belgium, Slovakia, Italy, Serbia, Kosovo, Ukraine, Tunisia, Mali, Afghanistan and Iraq. Notably, Libya is not represented. The report, which discusses the perceptions of those who have been exposed to the EU’s responses to the crisis unfolding in Libya, also recommended that the EU should also avoid undermining the positive image of the its humanitarian commitment by its engagement in contradictory policies. The 16-page report concluded that within the EU’s approach to crisis management, it is crucial to consider the point of view of all stakeholders to ensure that the crisis response is in line with European commitments towards local ownership and conflict sensitivity.
Russia says it takes no sides in Libya and is convinced that the only way to achieve peace and stability in the country is through national reconciliation mechanisms that come from the Libyans themselves, not ones imposed from outside. However, it firmly believes that the United Nations must remain the main coordinator in attempts to settle the crisis and that while help from international, regional and neighbouring states are valuable, these must be harmonised. In an interview with the Libya Herald, Deputy Russian foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who has specific charge over Middle East and African affairs, explained the fundamentals of Moscow’s policy towards Libya and what it hopes can be achieved.
The United Nations’ envoy to Libya and Head of its support mission in the country, Ghassan Salame has announced an action plan to end the Libyan political impasse. Salame revealed his crafted action plan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings, where a high-profile meeting on Libya took place Wednesday. According to Salame, the first stage of the plan is to amend the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). Salame added that the drafting of the plan would begin next week before the convening of a national conference under the UN auspices for all key Libyan actors to join the political process. “The conference brings together all the reluctant players, including House of Representatives and High Council of State as well as many Libyan parties”, he indicated. He explained that in the conference, all participants shall agree on the new members of the reconfigured executive institutions in Libya, adding that post-conference results will see the HoR and the Constituting Drafting Assembly (CDA) working together at the same time.
A grenade was thrown at the entrance to the Saiqa Special Forces building in Benghazi’s Buatni district this morning, according to its spokesman, Colonel Miloud Al-Zwai. No one was hurt and damage was slight. It is not known who was responsible other than that a Toyota pickup truck was used, the spokesman noted, adding that security patrols had been sent to the area to investigate any suspicious activities.Just hours before the attack, the head of Saiqa Brigadier, Brigadier Wanis Bukhamada, had warned of terrorist sleeper cells still existing in the city. The call comes after a number of kidnappings and discoveries of bodies in the city. Last night, extra forces were deployed in different parts of the city to help prevent any attempted action by them and control movement of illegal weapons.
Despite clashes for the fourth day early this morning in Sabratha, the town centre was reported calm by midday as a temporary truce took hold to enable elders from Zintan and Zawia to try and negotiate a permanent ceasefire between the belligerents. Later though, there were violations to the truce and in one incident a 48-year-old man was reported by Sabratha media centre to have been wounded as a result of mortar fire. This evening there were then reports that efforts at mediation were failing with both sides refusing to hand over weapons. “Everything is now quiet”, a prominent local activist had told the Libya Herald during the day, adding that the elders had been joined by those from Sabratha itself in the quest for peace.The conflict started on Saturday when an Amu unit refused to stop at a checkpoint in the town manned by the operations room. There was then shooting in which at least one Amu member was killed.
The Security Brigade of Derna Shura Council unveiled Monday that the nine foreigners abducted by ISIS from Al-Ghani oil field in March 2015 had been executed. Derna Shura Council explained in a statement that its forces found in June 2015 five unidentified foreign bodies during a combing operation in the western part of the city following the defeat of ISIS.The Council linked the five bodies with the nine foreigners who had been reported missing after an ISIS attack on Al-Ghani oil field. Derna Shura Council deplored the brutal killing of the nine foreigners and confirmed it’s working to hand over the five bodies to their countries.The nine foreigners were abducted in an ISIS attack on Al-Ghani oil field on March 6, 2015. They were working for oilfield management company Value Added Oilfield Services (VAOS), an Austrian-owned company with offices in Tripoli and Malta.
The National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) has blamed the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, for the failure to discover what happened to Tunisian journalists Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari who disappeared three years ago near Ajdabiya. The SNJT claim that the area where they vanished was under Haftar’s control at the time and that subsequently those linked to the LNA did nothing to help solve the mystery.While the union has not actually blamed Hafter and the LNA for the abductions, it denounced what it called the “suspicious silence” of all the Libyan parties “who are called upon to show good faith in handling this issue”. Although there have been some allegations that the abductors were Salafists linked to Hafter, it is generally believed that the two were captured by Islamists linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS), or at least passed on to them.