Militants in Jufra airbase surrounded and to be starved out: report
By Libya Herald reporters.
Benghazi, 26 March 2017:
The Libyan National Army (LNA) has appointed Brigadier Jamal Zahawi to the new post of commander of the Jufra operations room.
The LNA is claiming that the Jufra airbase and its Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) fighters are completely surrounded.
A source has told the Libya Herald that the LNA wants to avoid the casualties of an all-out attack and is content to starve into submission the BDB militia militia on the airbase.
The LNA has also today announced the appointment of Brigadier Mabrouk Al-Warfali as the commander of the Sirte operations room.
Meanwhile in downtown Benghazi, the pressure on the militants in Sabri was increased overnight when what the LNA said was a supply boat was intercepted and sunk a mile offshore. The boat is said to have exploded when hit by gunfire. At the same time Alwasat reported that three other boats in which militants were trying to flee the besieged quarter were stopped and a number of the occupants arrested. Unusually for such encounters, no images have been published on social media.
The Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council (BRSC) today put out pictures of what it said were its fighters inside Sabri. Apparently well-equipped and defiantly shooting back at LNA forces surrounding them, the BRSC insisted its forces were ready to fight off any attack.
The LNA has said that the militants have been reinforcing their barricades with land mines. One reason that troops have apparently delayed attacking the district is that the narrow streets pose a problem for the movement of tanks and other armoured vehicles.
Today there were yet more air raids on Sabri and the nearby militant district of Suq Al-Hout. Much of the older architecturally-interesting properties in the district are being reduced to rubble.
The extent of the damage is clear from closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras that the LNA has established overlooking Sabri. From the date and time details at the bottom of footage seen by this newspaper, there are at least seven such cameras.
Ten days ago one recorded three dogs scavenging along an otherwise empty rubble-strewn and eerily empty street. One of the dogs turns into an abandoned shop, followed seconds afterwards by the others. A short time later the camera records an explosion blasting out of the shop. The dogs had clearly triggered a boobytrap. Only smoke and dust emerged from the building and after a minute or two the picture had cleared and the camera resumed its remote monitoring of the street.