By Libya Herald reporters.
Benghazi, 13 May 2017:
Khalifa Hafter flew back from Cairo today after apparently warm talks with Egyptian president Fateh El-Sisi but no talks with Presidency Council (PC) president Faiez Serraj who had at one point also been expected in the Egyptian capital. In fact Serraj flew yesterday from a Tunis meeting with eastern members of the HoR back to Tripoli.
The armed forces commander-in-chief’s return to Benghazi comes ahead of Tuesday’s formal celebrations of the third anniversary start of his Dignity (Karama) operation against Islamist militants.
It has been suggested by a senior figure in Benghazi that the three-day festival will be visited at some point by UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler. However diplomatic sources in Tunis said tonight that Kobler’s arrival was highly unlikely.
The Dignity Operation has not yet been wrapped up. A week ago, an LNA assault on the last two remaining militant enclaves in Sabri and Suq Al-Hout made initial progress. A few key objectives, including the National Library were wrested from militant control.
However, resistance has been dogged and LNA casualties high. As has happened with previous battles against militants in the city, the initial momentum of the assault has slowed.
What hopes LNA commanders might have been that the last pockets of resistance would have been overcome by the time of the third anniversary celebrations appear to have gone.