IS continues killings as LNA claims offensive against Sirte ready
The so-called Islamic State is reported to have executed by firing squad an army captain, named as Ahnaish Qaddafi, and two other soldiers, both bothers, as it tries to control public dissent in the town amid growing expectations of a military offensive being launched against it. Qaddafi is said to have been a leading member of the Qaddadfa tribe in the Abu Hadi district south of the town.
The two brothers have been named as Abuzeid and Hassan Al-Amari, from Soloug but captured by IS in Derna and then taken to Sirte.
It is also reported that IS has killed five people in Ben Jawad, east of Sirte, among them, on Saturday, two teenagers who were thrown from the roof of the highest building in the place. The reports have not been confirmed, however. Last week it was reported that IS forces had withdrawn from Ben Jawad.
IS is meanwhile said to have heavily mined approaches to Sirte as well as locations inside in a bid to prevent either the Libyan National Army from entering from the east or Misratan forces from the west. IS has also been erecting sand barriers on the roads and there are unconfirmed reports that it has set up several more checkpoints around the town with the aim of preventing people from leaving. Many of the remaining residents are said to have fled the town in recent days ahead of expected attacks.
As to the plans by the LNA and the Miratans to separately launch offensives against Sirte, sources in Ajdabiya say that some LNA forces had arrived there but had not moved on.
Ajdabiya is supposed to be the operations centre for the LNA offensive.
Reports of an LNA air raid on an IS checkpoint west of Sirte cannot be confirmed.
For his part, LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari speaking in Benghazi today said that the preparations for the attack were complete and it would take place “soon”. He claimed that procedures were now in place to secure the oilfields from IS attacks. He added that Ibrahim Jadhran, Hafter’s main military rival in the east, had been replaced as head of the central region Petroleum Facilities Guard.
Mismari also denied that Hafter had gone to Egypt. The general was actively leading military operations in Libya, he said. Dismissing Thursday’s TV statement from the head of the Presidency Council, Faiez Serraj, he also said that the army took its orders purely from Hafter and the House of Representatives. (Khalifa Haftar, the CIA, NATO and the Destruction of Libya)