By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 17 October 2015:
There was fighting today in Ajilat and further west near Taweela, some 110 kilometres west of . . .[restrict]Tripoli, as forces from Sabratha tried to attack on a military meeting in Taweela.
The meeting of a number of local tribal militias supporting the Libya National Army (LNA) was addressed by Omar Tantoush, the Warshefana military commander appointed by the LNA’s Tripoli Operations Room to take control of all checkpoints on the coast road east of the capital. He has been drawing together the various tribal forces in the area.
The aim of the Sabratha units, the Dabbashi and Gharabli brigades, appears to have been to capture Tantoush and those at the meeting. At it a number of those present are said to have started chanting Qaddafi-era slogans.
There are reports that the Sabrathans were also supported by fighters from Ajilat, parts of which back the Libya Dawn alliance.
It was reported yesterday, however, that Libya Dawn fighters were gathering at Ajilat in preparation for an attack on LNA-supported forces after two missiles allegedly fell near the Mellitah gas complex. Both the LNA and the supported forces denied they had fired any missiles but said, if attacked, they would defend themselves.
Casualties in today’s clashes are unknown, one Libya Dawn fighter being wounded. Sabratha has closed the coastal road as fighting continued into the evening. However, the assault appears to have failed with the Sabrathans allegedly accusing Misrata of letting them down by not supplying them with ammunition.
Misratan forces pulled out of the area west of Tripoli over the summer.
Although now in LNA hands, Tweela, just 10 kilometres from the Mellitah complex as the crow flies and noted for its chestnut trees, is reported to have had a significant Islamist connection in the recent past. A number of Libyan Islamists who fought Afghanistan were allegedly given farms there by Saif Al-Islam after his rapprochement with them in 2010.
Meanwhile officials in Sabratha have claimed that a group of men were arrested after they tried to plant explosives in the local hospital. They were described as Qaddafi regime supporters. [/restrict]