Zintani–led forces claim to have repulsed an attempt yesterday by Gharian militiamen to take over a camp near Bir Ghanem as well as to have seized another one controlled by the Gharianis on the road to Tripoli and shot down a helicopter belong to Libya Dawn.
According to a Zintani source, there were clashes in three areas yesterday following the reported advance by Zintani and Warshefana forces against Libya Dawn supporters from Gharian, Zawia and Janzour on Sunday. The source said that a number of men had been killed or injured but would not say how many.
The clashes appear to be linked to two military operations – one a response by Libya Dawn to Sunday’s advance by the Warshefana and Zintanis, and the other a bid by the latter to cut the main road between Gharian and Tripoli and isolate the Gharianis.
In the first, according to the Zintan source, Ghariani forces and their allies tried unsuccessfully to take over the Bu Sheiba agricultural project between Gharian and Bir Ghanem held by the Zintanis. There were also clashes at a location near Gharian named as Ras Al-Efaa (Head of the Snake) when the Gharianis attempted to send reinforcements from there to Bu Sheiba.
The source claimed that the reinforcements were forced to flee to the Libya Dawn-held part of Aziziya district.
The second bout of fighting took place at Umm Al-Garoun, near the road to Tripoli and until now controlled by the Gharianis. The Zintanis claim to have taken it.
They also claim to have shot down a helicopter flying overhead during the fighting. According to the source, it was initially thought that the helicopter, which he said had come from Mitiga, was monitoring Zintani movements and relaying the information to Libya Dawn. However, subsequent inspection of the wreckage showed that it contained arms and missiles.
It has not been possible to confirm the Zintani claims.
This article was originally published here.