Libya’s retired General Khalifa Haftar has announced that his forces are ready to liberate the northeastern city of Benghazi from other armed groups.
In a speech broadcast on a private TV channel on Tuesday, Haftar said his forces will carry out major attacks on the militiamen on Wednesday. He also called on the locals to rise up against the “terrorists.”
“We have been able to organize ourselves now like we couldn’t do at the start of our campaign,” Haftar noted.
Benghazi has been a war zone since May, when Haftar joined forces with the army and declared war on the militia groups.
Forces loyal to Haftar have been unsuccessful in fighting the rival armed groups and have recently lost most of their bases in Benghazi. Currently, they just have Benghazi’s Beinina International Airport and its surrounding areas under their control.
Libya plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.
The country has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups that refuse to lay down arms. The groups are now turning their guns on each other in an attempt to dominate politics and the country’s vast oil resources.
Libya’s government and elected parliament moved to Tobruk after an armed group from Misrata seized the capital, Tripoli, and most government institutions in August.
The new Tripoli rulers have set up a rival parliament and government not recognized by the international community.