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Weekly Security Report by SNE Special Projects 19 August 2014

After several days of heavy fighting in Tripoli, planes believed to belong to General Hiftar launched air strikes against targets on the outskirts of the capital in the early hours of the 18 August. There has been speculation as to who was responsible for the air strikes, however there have been no official statements yet. The strikes primarily targeted locations known to be held by forces allied to the Islamist-leaning Libya Dawn coalition, suggesting that the attack may have been launched by Libyan Air Force troops loyal to General Hifter’s “Operation Dignity”.

In the early hours of the 19 August SNE staff in Hay Handalous district of Tripoli reported that two rockets landed in and around the area of Arousi mosque hitting residential houses and causing damage in the surrounding area. This was not believed to be the intended target of these rockets but rather a misfire on the behalf of those operating the units.

As expected, both pro and anti-House of Representatives protests broke out in numerous Libyan towns on 15 August, leading to violence in Tripoli, but passing peacefully elsewhere. In Tripoli, more activists attended the anti-House of Representatives demonstration, decrying the new parliament’s recent call for international intervention. Local sources reported that unidentified gunmen opened fire on demonstrators, prompting police to return fire and leaving several people injured.

On Wednesday 13 August the House of Representatives based in Tobruk voted to disband all officially recognised militias and called for international intervention to protect civilians within Libya. While a necessary step, it has not been made clear how the House of Representatives intends to enforce the dissolution of the militias and the deadline is not until 31 December 2014, meaning the impact in the short term will be minimal.

Heavy fighting was witnessed in Tripoli on the 14 August, with sources reporting that densely populated areas continue to be targeted by shells. While leaders from several brigades engaged in fighting in the capital have indicated they are open to negotiating a ceasefire, the Central Libyan Shield (CLS) Brigade released a statement on 13 August, declaring that they would continue their operation to rid Tripoli of Zintani militias.

In Benghazi, Saiqa Special Forces troops mounted an offensive from their stronghold in the Benina area towards the more central Bu Atni district on 16 August 2014. The Special Forces were able to retake some positions along Airport Road, but Bu Atni itself appears to remain in the hands of the so-called Benghazi Shura Council, spearheaded by Ansar al Sharia.

Clashes erupted in the northern Laithi district between Ansar al Sharia and a group of armed local residents during the afternoon of 14 August 2014. Shelling was also reported from the southern Hawari and Sidi Faraj districts, while unverified reports suggested that rockets had also landed in the Benina airport area, which is controlled by Operation Dignity forces.

Article by SNE Special Projects, Libya Business News.

This article was originally published here.

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