By Libya Herald reporters.
Benghazi, 27 December 2016:
Misrata’s Third Force said today that it had beaten off an attack by a Libyan National Army-allied unit on of the Gwirat Al-Maal checkpoint on the main road north of Sebha.
A LNA spokesman claimed last night that the army had cut the road. The move was seen as a first stage towards moving to Tamenhint airbase near Sebha, He said that the checkpoint was under tank and sniper fire but that this was about to be dealt with.
Claims today that the Misratans had seen off the attack have, however, drawn no response from the LNA . The Third Force said that the attack on them had been launched by a unit led by Mohamed Ben Nayel. There were no reports of any casualties in the firefight which is supposed to have lasted for around three hours.
A Third Force spokesman said that his unit had been sent to protect the south and would continue to do so.
Three weeks ago, however, Mohamed Ben Nayel took control of the Brak Al-Shatti military base after the Third Force pulled out.
Earlier this year, the Misratans in fact withdrew forces from the centre of Sebha where they had been based in the Qaddafi-era People’s Palace. It is understood that this was part of a redeployment to reinforce Bunyan Marsous forces in their drive against IS in Sirte.
Renewed tribal violence in the town which began on Saturday saw five deaths, including two children, as well as at least 15 injured. Sebha is now reported to be calm but tense. At the end of November fighting between members of the Alwad Sulaiman and Qaddadfa tribes ended after at least 20 people had died and dozens been injured.
In an early version we stated that the Third Force had also beaten off an attack by Ben Nayel on the Brak Al-Shatti airbase. We apologise for the error.