Worst Day of Fighting in Libyan Capital, PM Mobilizes Military

Locals report loud tank-fire heard across Tripoli

A week of heavy fighting in the Libyan capital of Tripoli grew substantially Wednesday and into Thursday, with both sides bringing tanks in, and locals reporting heavy tank-fire heard across the city.

Reports are that the invading Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Hafter is no more than seven miles from the city’s center at this point, while unity government PM Fayez Sarraj has issued a call for all Libyan armed forces to mobilize. He also urged locals to fight to defend Tripoli from the Hafter coup.

Indications are that this call to arms was answered chiefly by the Misrata militias, who arrived in force in Tripoli and were firing Grad rockets at the LNA forces to keep them from advancing any further.

It’s not clear how this fighting is all going to end, as the LNA does not appear to have the force to take the city outright, but Hafter is unlikely to quit the offensive without some new concessions to strengthen his position.

Hafter doesn’t even necessarily have to “win” the fight militarily, as even being present around Tripoli and causing trouble has put UN efforts to hold new reconciliation conferences on hold, and similarly forced Sarraj to scale back diplomatic efforts and focus on just keeping control of as much of the city as he can.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.