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Eastern Libya parliament head says forces will push Tripoli campaign

Eastern Libyan forces will pursue their advance on the capital Tripoli, the head of the eastern parliament in the divided country said on Saturday, despite international calls for a halt in an offensive that risks causing many civilian casualties.

His comments came an eastern air strike hit the yard of a school on the southern outskirts of Tripoli, where eastern forces have been confronted by forces allied to Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj’s internationally recognised government.

In a possible new front, the eastern Libya National Army (LNA) was readying a unit to move to the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil ports, Libya’s biggest, on the eastern coast, anticipating an attack from an armed group allied to Serraj, eastern military officials said.

“The force will strengthen the protection of the ports,” one official said, asking not to be named.

Last week the European Union had called on the LNA to stop its attacks, having agreed on a statement after France and Italy sparred over how to handle the conflict.

But the eastern parliament head said they would press an offensive launched a week ago under military commander Khalifa Haftar, the latest outbreak of a cycle of conflict since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

“We need to get rid of militias and terrorist groups,” Aguila Saleh, head of the House of Representatives allied to Haftar, said using a reference eastern officials often make to describe forces allied to the Tripoli government, which relies on support from several armed groups… Continue Reading

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