By Libya Herald reporters.
Benghazi/Tripoli, 20 June 2016:
MiG fighters belonging to the Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Hafter today attacked a site in the Ajdabiya industrial zone south of the town, claiming it was a terrorist target.
However, the Al-Sham camp is used by the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) headed by Ibrahim Jadhran.
It is not clear of the attack was deliberate: Hafter and Jadhran, who supports the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, are bitter foes and the LNA has accused the latter of supporting the recently-formed militant Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) which tried to take over the industrial zone last week.
Operating with the active encouragement of controversial cleric Sadik Ghariani and, according to the BDB itself, under his authority, the militant Islamist force is an offshoot of the largely defunct Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council.
Whether deliberate or not, the attack threatens to seriously escalate the conflict in the area.
The PFG has condemned what it calls “a criminal act”. In a statement on the Facebook page of Ali Hassi, the PFG spokesman, a “ruthless” response is promised.
In a later separate video statement, Hassi vehemently denied any relationship between the PFG and the BDB. He also accused the LNA of military incompetence that enabled the BDB to attack Ajdabiya. The militants, he said, had moved to the town from Jufrah in the south; but LNA forces were in Zillah and Marada in the Jufrah district. Why did they not stop them, he asked.
Meanwhile, having been forced out of Ajdabiya, the BDB are reported to be holed up at the Man-Made River project some 25 kilometres south east of Ajdabiya, which the LNA would be loathe to bomb. It would risk making the current water shortage in Benghazi permanent.
Reports that they had headed north to Benghazi are not correct.
However, this morning the LNA sent reinforcements to Soloug, 110 kilometres from Ajdabiya and just 40 kilometres from Benghazi, to block their progress.