Just days after his forces attacked Islamists in Benghazi, Libyan General Khalifa Hifter and his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army have attacked the capital of Tripoli itself, seizing parliament and declaring it “suspended” indefinitely.
The on-again, off-again appointee to Libya’s government was at the center of a failed February coup d’etat, and seems to have a better handle on it this time around, though he insists this coup is “not a coup,” but rather simply the will of the people.
Since seizing parliament, Hifter’s Army, which is distinct from Libya’s standing army, has seized much of Tripoli, concentrating its forces on the parliament building and international airport, with checkpoints along the way. He has declared the constitutional assembly, which was empowered to draft a new constitution, as the de facto parliament of the country now.
Hifter says his goal is to “purge” Libya of all Islamists, and that includes the ones in parliament. Libya’s Justice Minister called for an “immediate end” to the siege of parliament, saying they don’t accept Hifter’s takeover.