ISIS fighters attacked the main control station of the Man Made River pipe system southern Libya, however the LNA says the fighters have been driven away and that they now have control of the station. In Khoms, the mayor says last month’s beheading was not carried out by ISIS.

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Last week, US AFRICOM concluded Operation Odyssey Lightning in Sirte while support is being given to the Stabilisation Facility for Libya. On 23 December, an internal Libya flight was hijacked and flown to Malta, where the hijackers were apprehended.

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The LNA air force launched airstrikes against a BDB base in Hun last week. A Misratan brigade reportedly suffered losses during the attack, indicating a possible alliance between the BDB and some Misratan forces.

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The GNA officially declared the operation against ISIS in Sirte victorious although BM forces continue to sweep the city for mines, explosives and fighters, while US AFRICOM continues to provide support to monitor Sirte and the surrounding area.

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Last week, the UN held a conference in Tunis to discuss how the international community can support the GNA’s fledgling presidential guard. A number of high-level diplomatic events in Egypt, Russia and Algeria also took place that may indicate a shift towards a more Haftar-inclusive approach to the Libyan peace process at an international level.  

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LNA forces are making gradual gains against jihadi fighters in Ganfuda but 11 LNA fighters were killed in one day last week during intense fighting. A vessel travelling from Misrata to Benghazi loaded with weapons and personnel was intercepted as Misratan authorities begin to crack down on hardliners in the city.

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BM forces continue to sweep Sirte for remaining ISIS fighters, mines and IEDs. Hundreds of bodies have been recovered, including many from who are believed to be ISIS fighters from Derna. A mayor for Sirte was elected however BM forces have rejected him as being pro-Haftar and have appointed their own military governor.

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On 6 December, UN Envoy to Libya Martin Kobler told the UN Security Council (UNSC) that although the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) was ‘the only solution’ to the Libyan problem, its terms were ‘not set in stone’. This raises the possibility that the terms of the LPA may be renegotiated. Any reworking of the LPA will presumably favour General Khalifa …

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BRSC and ISIS suicide bombers attacked LNA fighters in Benghazi last week, even as gains were made in Ganfuda, and a video was found showing links between the Ansar al-Sharia groups in Libya and Tunisia. In Misrata, BM forces attacked BDB forces who had retreated to a camp in the city while LNA forces killed a high profile BDB commander during airstrikes in Jufra.

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The LNA defeated a counter-attack on the oil crescent launched from Jufra by allied forces including Jadhran loyalists, BDB fighters and some GNA forces. The attacking convoy was routed and the LNA even extended its control south of Jufra, all the way to Brak al-Shati. In Tripoli, tensions are high as anti-GNA Misratan forces mobilize to support the anti-GNA Islamist coalition, while protests took place after a video of militiamen raping a woman was released.

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In Sirte, the BM forces finally declared victory against IS forces on 5 December, following heavy fighting and US airstrikes, and on 6 December they said they were securing the last few buildings in the area.

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UN envoy to Libya continues his efforts to get the LPA accepted by the HoR before the 17 December deadline, however says that certain points such as controversial article 8, which would prevent Haftar from controlling the LNA, may be re-negotiated

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Clashes between Islamist militias allied with the Mufti and nominally pro-GNA militias broke out in Tripoli last week, killing 8 people in locations across the city. A ceasefire is now in place but tensions remain high. In Benghazi, 9 LNA fighters were killed as the LNA attempts to cut off jihadi fighters in Ganfuda.

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Clashes in Libya indicate that the GNA is unable to control its own capital, further weakening its support in western Libya and hence its negotiating position. However, the declaration of BM forces’ victory against ISIS in Sirte could give the GNA a temporary boost in popularity given BM is nominally controlled by the GNA.

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