Weekly Security Report by SNE 6th August 2014

The majority of diplomatic missions / embassies within Libya have now been suspended their activities within Libya and numerous governments have given the order and/or supported the evacuation of their citizens from Tripoli and Benghazi as the fighting has spread within the cities and to other areas of the country.

The battle for Tripoli’s main airport has expanded across the city with numerous clashes being reported between the Misrata backed pro-Islamic group and the incumbent Tripoli airport Zintan militia backed by General Hiftars Free Libyan Army. Clashes intensified in central Tripoli during the power cut while forces from Zintan and Warsehfana have reportedly consolidated their hold over bases to the west of Tripoli, with some sources suggesting that they intend to continue their charge west towards Zawiya

The Brega Petroleum Company’s petrol storage depot on the Tripoli airport road was set on fire again after shells hit storage tanks at the facility with seven out of the eight storage tanks now destroyed.

The worsening violence in the capital has also led to severe power cuts and shortages of essential services such as fuel and water. The power cuts vary from four to twelve hours at present with many households either without power or having to survive with generators. Fuel queues of up to twelve hours could be found within Tripoli and most fuel stations all the way up to the Ras Jadir crossing point with Tunisia. A near-nationwide blackout hit Libya during the evening of 05 August 2014, technicians with the General Electric Company of Libya (GECOL) have reportedly been able to fix the problem early on Wednesday morning. A spokesperson for the company claimed that the problem was technical and not due to sabotage as had previously been claimed.

In Benghazi reports coming out that Ansar al Sharia had declared an “Islamic Emirate” were denied, and while the Islamist militia and its allies undoubtedly made advances over the past week, forces loyal to General Khalifa Hifter have continued to launch air strikes against Islamist bases in the southern districts. The slowdown in violence noted between 02 & 04 August 2014 was reversed during the electric blackout, as multiple attacks were launched in the southern Hawari and Sidi Faraj districts, and clashes were noted in the area surrounding Benina International Airport.

Violence has also spread elsewhere in the country, as skirmishes have been reported over the past few days in Ajdabiya, Zawiya, Zintan, Gharyan and on the outskirts of Derna.

Meanwhile, the newly elected House of Representatives held its first session in the eastern city of Tobruk on 04 August, although thirty out of the 188 elected representatives did not attend. It is not clear whether the thirty members not in attendance were officially boycotting the session, or if they had been prevented from flying to the east of the country by militias controlling airports in Tripoli and Misrata.

During a subsequent session the same day, the House of Representatives elected Aguila Saleh Issa Gwaider as Speaker, after he beat favourite candidate Abubakr Bahira in a run-off.

 

 

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