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Libya: Haftar forces take control of entrance to Derna

Forces led by Khalifa Haftar and backed by Tobruk-based parliament take control of city's western entrance

28.05.2018
Libya: Haftar forces take control of entrance to Derna

TRIPOLI

Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar, commander of Libyan forces backed by the Tobruk-based parliament, announced it has taken control of the western entrance of Derna city in addition to another four sites in the city’s vicinity.

On May 17, armed clashes erupted between Haftar-led forces and the Derna Protection Force (DPF) -- formerly known as Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC)-- in the vicinity of the city, causing killings and injuries on both sides.

Ahmed al-Mesmari, a spokesman for forces loyal to Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament announced on his Facebook official page, that the Haftar-led forces took control on Monday over the highest area, which directly overlooks Bab Tobruk district in Derna.

The forces also took control of Al-Fatayeh Industrial Zone, the entrance of Western Derna, Nusseibeh Bint Kaab Mosque, the Al-Sadaqa Pepsi factory and its surrounding areas, as well as a diving club, according to al-Mesmari.

He went on to say the “advancement” of the Haftar-led forces is still ongoing.

For its part, the DPF announced it has withdrawn from the Al-Fatayeh area after heavy raids by drones on the eastern and western sides, according to media outlets close to it including the Al-Manarah media website.

Earlier this month, Haftar, announced the launch of a military offensive to capture Libya's northeastern city of Derna.

Derna was captured by the Shura Council of Mujahideen after the expulsion of Daesh from the city in 2014.

The Shura Council of Mujahideen in Derna was formed in December 2014 with a view to confronting pro-Haftar forces, who, since then, have imposed a blockade on the city.

While Libyan Islamic political figures have criticized the Haftar-commanded military operation in Derna, the UN-backed unity government sees it as threatening the lives of civilians inside the city.

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