By Aimen Amzein.
Benghazi, 23 January 2016:
A group of elders from Cyrenaica have told General Khalifa Hafter that they reject the Serraj . . .[restrict]government and instead support him in the fight against terrorism while wanting a “Libya-Libya” dialogue to bring peace and security to the country.
They met with him at his headquarters in Marj, along with a number of like-minded members of the House of Representatives and of the Thinni government, plus delegates from the Tebu and Tuareg communities.
For his part, Hafter told his assembled audience that he would announce Benghazi’s liberation from Islamist militants in just a few days. The city was, he added, now very safe and almost completely free of militants.
He also claimed that once the battle for Benghazi was over, he would go to Sirte to rid it of the Islamic State forces currently controlling it.
In an hour-long televised speech, he also spoke of the gains he had made in the city over the past year and a half and of his recent meeting with UN Special Envoy Martin Kobler. Suprisingly, he made no mention of the shock attack on him two days ago by his former spokesman Mohamed Hejazi.
Hafter has predicted that he would announce Benghazi’s liberation on more than one occasion in the past. It is not clear if today’s event was stage managed to divert attention from the embarrassing Hejazi attack.
In Benghazi yesterday some couple of hundred demonstrators voiced their support for Hafter in Kish Square, and denounced Hejazi. Later, police and army officers drove around the city also proclaiming their backing for the general. Meanwhile Special Force took over Hejazi’s office in Benghazi and then handed it over to military finance officials. [/restrict]