Despite a lack of concrete evidence of connection between the mafia and extremist groups, rumors circulate about cooperation in the illicit economy via fuel and drug smuggling in the Sahara Desert. GNA- aligned al-Bunyan al-Marsus forces continue to conduct anti-ISIS reconnaissance missions in Abu Hadi area, south of Sirte.

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On August 3, an Italian naval patrol boat, the Commandante Borsini, arrived in Tripoli with a group of experts for a five-day working visit; a second vessel is expected to replace it on August 8. LNA commander Khalifa Haftar called on Libyan armed forces in the west to repel Italian vessels with force should they enter Libyan waters. Those who oppose the Italians see their presence as a violation of Libyan sovereignty and evidence of imperial intent.

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In late July after the DMSC downed an LNA jet over Derna and alleged killed and mutilated its pilot Adel Jehani, triggering a tightening of the LNA siege on the city. Local sources report that the LNA’s Saiqa Special Forces have reportedly moved to Derna to join the LNA in preparation for a major assault on the city in conjunction with an internal uprising, targeting key DMSC leaders and military targets.

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On 1-3 August, Egypt facilitated mediation talks between LNA and Misratan delegations in Cairo. A understanding between both delegations hinged on respect of Libya’s unity and sovereignty, efforts to avoid bloodshed, build a civilian state, discard all kinds of foreign intervention and fight terrorism and criminal groups, including militias.

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