Misratan-led Bunyan Marsus (BM) forces have raised the level of security readiness in anticipation of an impending Islamic State (ISIS) attack on Sirte from the south and the east. GNA spokesman Mohammed al-Ghosri denied rumours that BM requested military support from the LNA and posited that the LNA’s position in Jufra may actually facilitate the presence and movement of ISIS south of Sirte.

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On 25 July, LNA Commander Haftar and GNA PM agree to a ceasefire and 2018 elections after meeting in France hosted by Emmanuel Macron. Italy is reportedly unsettled by France’s initiative and has expressed fear that Italy will be ousted from its traditional role as the leader of European diplomacy in Libya. on 25 July, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt announced new Libyan entities and individuals were added to their list of Qatar-funded ‘terrorists’.

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On 23 July, a new video was released of notorious LNA senior commander Mahmoud al-Werfalli directing the execution of 18 prisoners of war believed to belong to ISIS. The video followed a UN request for the LNA to investigate the summary executions of prisoners and other human rights issues. GNA PM Fayez Serraj condemned the fatwa against Ibadi Muslims that was issued by the Awqaf and is supported by the Islamic affairs authority affiliated with the Beida-based interim government.

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On 25 July, LNA Commander Haftar and GNA PM Serraj have ‘committed to a ceasefire’ with promises to use force for counter-terrorism efforts only, and to work towards holding presidential and parliamentary elections in the Spring of 2018. Misrata and other Islamist-affiliated members of the PC fear they might loose their role in Libyan power politics if the HCS is dissolved as an interim institution in exchange for new parliamentary and presidential elections.

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Battles continue in the final area (Khribish) in Sabri district of Benghazi, where a number of fighters and families are now still believed to be holding out, despite General Haftar’s announcement of official victory in Benghazi on 5 July. 10 LNA fighters were killed last week according to pro-LNA media.

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Various sources report that Libyan general Ali Kanna visited Algerian foreign minister Abdelkader Messahel in Algiers last week. Mayor of Zintan and other western Libyan municipal leaders met with members of EU committee as part of their campaign to partner with local authorities to implement stabilization programmes. Italian MOI met with Zuwaran local officials in Tripoli to discuss possible Italian support and cooperation regarding the migration issue.

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