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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The Misratan-led Bunyan Marsus anti-ISIS campaign in Sirte suffered setbacks on 15 July when at least 20 men were killed in multiple suicide attacks by ISIS militants… Security threats in the oil crescent are dramatically increasing, with higher prospects of a larger conflict in the short-medium term. On 17 July, fighting broke out between Libyan National Army (LNA) units, supported by local volunteers, and Benghazi Defense Brigade (BDB) in the town of Magrun, only 70 kilometers southwest of Benghazi… The BDB’s momentum is intensifying rifts in the region, especially between the LNA and the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) commanded by Ibrahim Jadhran.

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On 6 July, the Libyan National Army (LNA) suffered major blows, with the death of 11 soldiers in a suicide attack, and downing of its ace Mig-23 pilot Major Idris Hamed Al-Obeidi. Obeidi, an iconic LNA fighter pilot, was killed when his plane crashed during a mission against jihadists in Ganfuda. On 10 July, Tariq Al Saiti, another iconic LNA solider who specialized in de-mining and was a highly respected figure in Benghazi, was killed. These setbacks have dampened the high hopes for a swift and decisive defeat of jihadists in eastern Libya.

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Three key developments were identified last week: 1) The unabated momentum of the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Bunyan Marsus coalition against ISIS in Sirte, 2) the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) surge eradicated the remaining pockets of jihadi fighters in southwestern Benghazi and 3) and the influence of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) in the oil crescent has taken a significant hit.

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