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Libyan Army liberates Tripoli, heads towards Tarhuna

Libyan Army advances towards Tarhuna, last stronghold for warlord Khalifa Haftar’s militia in western Libya

Walid Abdullah   | 04.06.2020
Libyan Army liberates Tripoli, heads towards Tarhuna

TRIPOLI, Libya

After retaking the country's main airport, the Libyan Army on Thursday announced the complete liberation of the capital Tripoli, while its forces move into another city to the southeast, the last stronghold for warlord Khalifa Haftar in western Libya.

"Tripoli has been liberated and fully secured, and we have reached the administrative borders of the city of Tarhuna, southeast of the capital,” said Mustafa al-Majei, the spokesperson of the Burkan Al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) Operation. 

Al-Majei confirmed that the Libyan Army entered the Fam Malgha area of Tarhuna, 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Tripoli. 

“The military vehicles of putschist Khalifa Haftar’s militia have been seen withdrawing from Tarhuna towards the city of Bani Walid,” 180 km (112 miles) southeast of Tripoli, al-Majei added.

Meanwhile, the Libyan government announced forming a care-taker council for the Tarhuna city municipality. 

The council is expected to assume duty after the liberation of the city. 

The Libyan Army also arrested a prominent commander in a pro-Khalifa Haftar militia while advancing to the city. 

The government-led Burkan Al-Ghadab Operation said in a statement that Riyad al-Kabir was arrested while the army was advancing toward the western entrance of Tarhuna.

Al-Kabir, one of the commanders in the pro-Haftar Kaniyat militia, was arrested "while trying to escape among a number of women." 

"The arrest of al-Kabir was carried out during the advance of our forces to the Fam Malgha [area], within the administrative border of Tarhuna city," the statement read. 

On Wednesday, the Libyan Army of the internationally recognized government managed to retake Tripoli International Airport from Haftar's militias. 

In March, the Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm to counter attacks on the capital, and recently regained strategic locations, including the Al-Watiya airbase, in a major blow to Haftar's forces. 

Libya's government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to the military offensive by Haftar’s forces. 

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara 

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