The Address | Benghazi – Libya
TRIPOLI – Head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj “strongly” denied in a statement on Saturday that terrorists are fighting among forces of his government against the Libyan National Army (LNA) in Tripoli; despite the fact that the European Union confirmed the contrary.
“We warn against campaigns of disinformation from some parties, the last of which is the claim that there are fighters in our ranks belonging to terrorist organizations and groups,” reads Al-Sarraj’s statement.
“We strongly deny this because the Government of National Accord has been fighting terrorism, pursuing its remnants and achieved impressive victories against it.”
Al-Sarraj’s denial came just a day after the New York Times newspaper published an article reporting on the terrorist and extremist militants whom are currently fighting on Al-Sarraj’s side against LNA.
The New York Times reported last Friday that among those fighting on Al-Sarraj’s side is the so-called Benghazi Defense Brigade, which is a militia-alliance formed in 2014 following LNA’s military operation in Benghazi.
The Benghazi Defense Brigade includes Ansar al-Sharia militia which was designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, Britain and the United States following the terror group’s attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi in 2012.
Prior to the New York Times report, a damning confirmation of such news came from one of the highest senior officials at the European Union; Federica Mogherini.
Mogherini released a statement last Thursday on behalf of the EU member states in which they “express their concern at the involvement of terrorist and criminal elements in the fighting, including individuals listed by the UN Security Council. They call on Libyan parties to dissociate themselves from these elements, both publicly and on the ground.”
Those individuals listed by the UN Security Council which Mogherini references include militia leaders Ibrahim Jadhran, Salah Badi as well as Abdul Rahman al-Milad. All three appeared in pictures and video footage showing how they are leading the fight against LNA in Tripoli.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) launched a military operation in Tripoli two weeks ago to push back against militias and terror groups which dominated the capital since the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.