Libyan National Army captured 55 militants from the Mujahideen Shura Council in Derna
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Prominent militants were captured by the Libyan National Army (LNA) in round-up operations in the coastal town of Derna. The LNA had announced the end to operations on February 9th.
Despite officially announcing the defeat of the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council (DMSC) in July 2018, the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced that militants from the DMSC are still present in a small pocket in Derna’s Old City.
As a result of their presence, the LNA recently launched an operation that led to the capture of over 55 militants and DMSC leaders still holed up in the city.
According to reports from the LNA, many of those who were arrested by them were Arab nationals who came to Libya to fight with the militant group.
“This is a message to the world that the Libyan army is fighting terrorism, not fighting its sons or tribes, and a message to those who have repeatedly called for the rescue of Derna’s children,” said Colonel Melad al-Zoe, the spokesperson for the LNA’s Special Forces.
Amongst those who were captured in the operations was the DMSC’s former spokesperson and founder of the group, Hafez al-Tabbi. Furthermore, a video shared by Libyan activists on Facebook revealed the arrest of Abu Hafs al-Mauritani, a high ranking official, and the killing of the militant group’s last spokesperson, Mohammed al-Tahir al-Mansouri, and DMSC commander Mohammed Denko.
According to observers, this operation has dealt a massive blow to remaining members of the DMSC who have fled to the country’s southern regions.
With military operations against the DMSC and ISIS continuing in the south of Libya, the LNA says that the days of militant control over Libyan territories will soon be over.
While LNA officials are attempting to portray their victories in Libya as merely the defeat of terrorism, many observers say that their recent operations are an attempt for them to secure strategic oilfields and cities throughout Libya.
Despite the LNA’s leaders meeting with other Libyan leaders in Italy last November and agreeing to find the country’s political deadlock, recent clashes and power grabs by different factions have threatened to derail the country from the roadmap set by the UN.
While the future continues to look unstable for Libya, the capture of militants threatening the lives of civilians is a welcome development.
Source: Alshahid Witness