Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled army forces attacked Wednesday Saddada Castle between Misrata and Bani Walid, claiming control of the area after brief clashes with forces inside the castle under the command of the former chief of Petroleum Facilities Guard, Ibrahim Jadran and Benghazi Defense Brigades.
According to sources from the area, the clashes left injuries and deaths with reports saying the injured fighters under Haftar’s command were sent to Al-Jufra hospitals.
In the meantime, the Sirte Protection Force denied that Haftar’s forces had seized the town, saying they had retreated to their positions.
“We have declared full mobilization of fighters at the central military zone and we have asked the military reserve force to secure administrative borders.” A military source said.
The move of Haftar’s forces is seen as an advance on Misrata city, which has mobilized all forces to secure all of its administrative borders.
Earlier this week, Haftar’s forces advanced into Abu Najim – 70 km to the west of Sirte – before they were told to leave by central military zone forces.
The self-styled army mobilized troops around the oil crescent region, citing a need to foil an attack by Jadran’s forces on oil terminals.
However, a spokesman for Jadran – Ali Al-Maghrabi – denied any intentions to attack oil terminals or Haftar’s forces in there, adding that Haftar’s forces are justifying their military moves by such lies so they can advance toward Sirte and Misrata.
Over the last weeks, Haftar’s general command reshuffled the military ranks in western and southern Libya in what observers describe as a preparation to advance on Tripoli.