Libya’s internationally recognized government today declared a state of emergency in Tripoli as tribal militias vying for control continued pressing toward the city centre.
The Government of National Accord (GNA) said the move is aimed at protecting civilians, critical facilities as well as private and public properties. In a statement published today on its Facebook page, the GNA added that it has formed a committee tasked with implementing the security arrangements set out in the Skhirat agreement.
A separate decision attributed to the GNA was leaked online tasking general Mohammed Zayn, chief of Misrata’s counterterrorism force, with restoring security in Tripoli. A source familiar with the matter has told this website that GNA’s move is part of a deal reached between Tripoli’s Special Deterrence Force and Tajoura militias which would see general Zayn’s troops safeguarding Mitiga airport and prison. Mitiga prison holds hundreds of inmates including dozens of Islamic State members and several senior members of the Gaddafi regime. However, spokesman of the SDF has denied any such deal. Videos published earlier this evening on social media showed vanguards of general Zayn’s force arriving in al-Khoms (150 km east of Tripoli).
Tarhouna’s Seventh Brigade and its allied forces from Misrata and Zintan gained new ground in southern and western Tripoli including, Ain Zarah, Tripoli’s International Airport, Ghouth Shaal and Sarraj. Battalion 301, one of the main pro-GNA militias, which is originally from Misrata, deserted all its positions in western Tripoli on Saturday which were subsequently taken by forces led by Misratra’s Salah-Eddin Omar Bhaadi and Zintan’s Emad Trabolsi.
Saad al-Hammali, spokesman of Tarhouna’s Seventh Brigade, today made a televised statement assuring foreign diplomatic missions in Tripoli that their military campaign was aimed at restoring security and order. The brigade has repeatedly claimed that they are not seeking to overthrow the GNA, which they hope would accept them among its security providers in exchange for payments like those given to the Tripoli-based militias.
As the violence entered its seventh day in a row, indiscriminate shelling continues to claim civilians lives across the city. Two people were killed today and 5 others wounded after a rocket hit Tawergha refugee camp in al-Fallah area.
Wide-scale looting was reported on Saturday and Sunday in areas in western Tripoli controlled by Zintani militias, while GNA’s Judicial Police Force confirmed that around 400 inmates have escaped from Ain Zara prison following riots triggered by sounds of heavy artillery in nearby areas.