Marine Corps General Says US Forces to Relocate Outside Libya

Marine Corps General Says US Forces to Relocate Outside Libya

Marine Corps General Says US Forces to Relocate Outside Libya

It's still unclear how much this is a show of force to bolster Gen Haftar's position or a genuine effort to seize Tripoli.

Repeated attempts to find a peaceful solution have failed.

A member of Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar, is seen as he heads out of Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli, in Benghazi, Libya April 7, 2019.

Pro-Haftar fighters have been slowed in their advance by forces loyal to Sarraj's Government of National Accord (GNA), which is based in the capital.

Colonel Mohamed Gnounou told reporters that operation "Volcano of Anger" was aimed at "purging all Libyan cities of aggressor and illegitimate forces", in reference to Haftar fighters.

The LNA said it has reached the southern outskirts and has taken the disused global airport, 24 kilometres from central Tripoli, but GNA military reportedly refuted this.

In a televised address Fayez al-Serraj accused General Khalifa Haftar of launching a coup, saying his troops would be met with "strength and power". Pro-government militias from the nearby base of Misrata have been moving to defend Tripoli.

Video has now emerged showing U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) hovercraft approaching and landing on the beach in the town of Janzour, which is located just a few miles to the west of Tripoli. The LNA vowed to retaliate.

Analysts also believe Haftar wants to affirm his military clout after launching successful operations in the east and the south of the country - spurred by the fact that the global community failed to react to those past offensives. It answers to the authorities based in eastern Libya, who are at odds with the United Nations -backed government.

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The UN has declared that the gathering will go on as planned.

"He now faces the prospect of a protracted war south of Tripoli, or of a decisive defeat", said Lacher, a researcher with the German Institute for worldwide and Security Affairs (SWP).

On Saturday large queues formed at petrol stations and supermarkets, an AFP journalist said.

A similar stance was taken by the UN Security Council which, following a closed-door emergency meeting Friday, said those responsible for re-igniting the conflict will be held responsible.

United Nations envoy Ghassan Salame said that the conference planned for 14-16 April would still be held in time, despite the escalation - "unless compelling circumstances force us not to".

"Despite the crisp air of Dinard, we couldn't overcome some of our differences", said Le Drian.

Asked if Moscow was backing Haftar's new westwards push, Peskov said it wasn't and was not involved in current events.

Both countries have provided support to General Haftar. The country is governed by rival authorities: The internationally backed government in Tripoli and the government in the east, which Hifter is aligned with.

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