In western Libya, the Misratan-led Bunyan Marsus coalition made more gains against ISIS this week in Sirte. The coalition took control of the Hay El Dollar and Area “2” while continuing to conduct airstrikes against ISIS positions in the Ouagadougou complex. Despite these advances, the fight with ISIS is likely to be prolonged as the group continues to mount suicide vehicle attacks in a number of Misratan-controlled areas. The Sirte port remains under Bunyan Marsus control, despite continued ISIS attempts to retake the port using targeted suicide attacks.

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On 22 July, large demonstrations took place in Tripoli, Misrata, Zawiyya, Zuwara and others denouncing the discovery of French fighters acting in coordination with Khalifa Haftar as evidence of a French invasion, and breaching of the internationally recognized political agreement. Anti-Government of National Accord (GNA) forces are using the event to re-consolidate political forces that had fragmented after the GNA replaced the former Islamist-aligned General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli on 30 March 2016… The credibility of the LNA took another severe hit after 14 bodies were discovered on 21 July in a rubbish dump in Benghazi, an area supposedly ‘liberated’ from ISIS in March 2016.

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Over the last two weeks, the Benghazi Defense Brigade (BDB) advanced to within 60 kilometers east of Benghazi, before reportedly retreating back to its base in Jufra, Libya on 22-23 July. The militia, which has enjoyed rising support in western Libya after it managed to take down an LNA helicopter with three French soldiers onboard on 17 July, is likely to conduct a new incursion into the oil crescent to retake oil wells from LNA-aligned forces and to mount another assault on Benghazi.

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On 21 July, French President Francois Hollande confirmed three French special forces soldiers had died in the downing of a Libyan National Army (LNA) helicopter on 17 July. The event, and subsequent revelation, unleashed large demonstrations on 22 July in a number of western Libyan cities against France and the Government of National Accord, reinvigorating hardline Islamists and revolutionary factions as a force of opposition to both the GNA and House of Representatives.

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