Hafter claims LNA now controls most of Libya
By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 15 October 2017:
Only a few areas of the country are not yet controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA) armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Hafter has claimed.
Hafter maintained the LNA now held territory to the west of Tripoli from the outskirts of Zawia, 30 kilometres west of the capital, to Zuwara. In a few days, he said, Zawia, , would also be under its control.
Hafter told a gathering of LNA commanders in Benghazi yesterday: “The size of Libya is 1,760,000 square kilometres. The army is currently in control of 1,730,000 square kilometres. There’s only a little left.”
He said that he hoped the dialogue in Tunis would work, but that people have little confidence in it and that there had to be “alternatives”. If it did not work, then it would be up to Libyans to decide their fate.
His announcement has been taken as an indication that the LNA would move on Tripoli. Last December, he said that troops should be ready to “liberate” the capital.
However, Hafter made no mention of Misrata and its battle-hardened militias which though split between Islamist and non-Islamist forces, are united in their suspicion and rejection of him and the Libyan National Army (LNA).
Hafter also said at the conference that the proliferation or weapons outside state control was one of the greatest threats to national security.
He also stressed that his was a battle against terrorism which was working day and night to undermine the country. He said that the LNA had “no choice but victory”. The sharp divisions within the country between those struggling for power were weakening its stability.
He referred to a violent struggle between those who backed progress against backwardness, humanity against its enemies. Security was the highest priority and he called for security and military forces to advance under the law and with respect for human rights to triumph on the battlefield over terrorism.