Within the last few minutes, Alnabaa News, Libya’s leading news channel, have reported that jets belonging to the Libyan Air force have struck at Islamic State, (Daesh) positions in Sirte. There is no information linking this attack to yesterday’s assault upon the Tunisian border town of Ben Guerdane.
Libyan forces under Tobruk have made significant gains against Islamic Militia positions in and around Benghazi over recent weeks, suggesting a resurgence of military force from the internationally recognised parliament.
However, Tobruk again failed to vote on UN proposals for a unity government last night, leaving UN plans for a centrally agreed government at an impasse. As reported earlier, the UN Special Representative to Libya, Martin Kobler has indicated that he may proceed upon the basis of the unofficial 101 signature letter from politicians in Tobruk supporting UN proposals in principle. However, whether international plans can proceed without the express support of the Tobruk parliament remains unclear.
Italy confirmed yesterday that it is ready to lead a 5,000 strong military intervention into the troubled country, but only upon the invitation of a mutually agreed unity government. The international force would be responsible for training and mentoring the Libyan National Army.
During an interview over the weekend with the Tunisian magazine, Realities, Tobruk Interior Minister, Mohamed al Fakher expressed hostility to the notion of any form of military intervention, telling the magazine, “We can, without anyone’s help free our country from terrorism. Our military forces are able to eradicate terrorism from Libya and even several other countries. We ask for no foreign intervention. All we need are weapons and ammunition.”
Numerous air strikes have taken place against Daesh positions in Libya over recent weeks, with speculation mounting that yesterday’s assault upon Ben Guerdane may have been prompted by the US air strike upon the Daesh training camp at Sabratha, which is believed to have been conducted at least partly upon the basis of intelligence provided by Tunisia.
Prior to joining Tunisia Live, Simon worked as a freelance journalist. He has lived in Tunisia since 2013 and previously worked in Vietnam and Moscow.