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Libya: Government forces surround foreign military personnel in Haftar-controlled air base

Social media activists circulated reports of a “valuable catch” at the Haftar-controlled Al-Wattia air base in eastern Libya.

The activists stated that a group of French and Emirati advisers were trapped at the air base, after the attack carried out by the forces of the Government of National Accord (GNA) last Monday, following which they took control of the entire West Coast cities, serving as the base’s strategic depth on the Mediterranean coast.

In turn, Tunisian MP Maher Zid accused the United Arab Emirates, in a post on Facebook, of communicating with the Tunisian presidency to ensure smuggling the Emirati officers trapped in Al-Wattia air base.

A military source in Tripoli informed Arabi21 that he does not rule out these reports, as it is likely that a number of foreign officers (whose identities have not been revealed) have already been trapped in Al-Wattia air base after losing contact with Haftar’s forces, that were expelled from most areas of the Libyan West. However, the source did not provide detailed information on the issue.

Another source confirmed to Arabi21 that despite the fact that the GNA army launched an offensive on the air base about three weeks ago, the troops did not manage to storm the entire location. Thus, the forces of Operation Volcano of Anger raided the base’s dorms only, and captured a number of Haftar’s officers and fighters, without managing to access the weapon stores, aviation facilities and other parts of the air base, in which other officers are likely to be hiding.

The same source pointed out that the base, which mediates a rugged mountainous region in the west, is not completely surrounded by the GNA forces, as it can be infiltrated through the city of Zintan (south of the base), pointing to the presence of rugged mountain paths in that area, known only to the residents of the Nafusa Mountains.

Arabi21 spoke to Mustafa Al-Mujai, spokesperson of the GNA’s Operation Volcano of Anger, who affirmed that he had no information on the matter, nor the officers trapped at the base, indicating that he saw the news on social media platforms.

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