Clashes around Najila, west of Tripoli International Airport, continued for the second day today between Libyan National Army-supported Wirshefani forces on the one side and Janzouri and Misratan units on the other.
According to the LNA’s spokesman in Benghazi, Ahmed Mismari, the fighting which started on Friday afternoon is the beginning of the LNA’s operation to liberate Tripoli.
This, however, has been denied by the LNA’s Tripoli operations room headed by Colonel Idris Madi. It issued a statement this evening saying that no operation against Tripoli had started. What was happening, it suggested, was yet another local conflict.
It said that fighters from Janzour had attacked a checkpoint which had resulted in a number of them being captured but that also some members of the LNA-supported forces had been injured. It did not say how many.
A third statement from the Janzour Knights, one of the two main forces based in the west Tripoli suburb of Janzour, partially corroborates this. It said there had been an attack on a checkpoint at Najila manned by a Misratan brigade two days ago and that one of the Misratan fighters had been seized and taken away. What then happened was that the Janzur Knights and the Misratan brigade concerned mounted a joint operation yesterday afternoon counter-attacking a checkpoint controlled by the Wirshefana.
The clashes stopped at sunset today, Saturday, but it is feared they may flare up again on Sunday.
On the front line between the Wirshefana and those forces representing whoever is in power in Tripoli, the area around Najila has seen repeated clashes between the two sides over the past two years. In November 2014, the LNA was claiming that the operation to liberate Tripoli had begun, yet shortly afterwards, nothing more was heard of it. Again just over a year ago, the LNA claimed it was in Najila and moving towards Tripoli.