On 21 July, reports began emerging suggesting that prominent al-Qaeda linked figures Mahfouz Ould al-Walid (Abu Hafs al-Mauritani) and Hisham Ashmawi (Abu Omar al-Muhajir al-Masri) are amongst the Derna Protection Force (DFP) remnants isolated to small pockets of old town Derna by the LNA.

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Last week, the Libyan National Army’s 101 Brigade published photos that circulated on social media of senior al-Qaeda leader Sufiyan Bin Qammu amongst other al-Qaeda militants in Derna. Qammu is thought to be a prominent al-Qaeda theoretician in Libya and is known within the group as “The Libyan Knight.”

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On 28 June, commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar announced the ‘liberation’ of the city of Derna. Earlier that day the LNA had stated that they had complete control of the city and that Brigadier General Salem al-Rifadi was appointed the head of the Joint Security Operations Room for the city.

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On 25 June, the leader of the Derna Protection Forces (formerly known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council), Atiyah al-Shaari, was reportedly killed in a Libyan National Army (LNA) airstrike in downtown Derna.

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On 16 June, the Libyan National Army (LNA) claimed to have captured al-Qaeda linked Ansar al-Sharia commander Safian bin Kamou during a raid in northern Derna. On 14 June, two senior leaders of the Benghazi Defence Brigade (BDB), Ahmad al-Tajouri and Faraj Shaku, were allegedly killed by airstrikes as they moved from Bani Walid to the Oil Crescent.

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On 9 May, one of the Derna Mujahadeen Shura Council’s key religious ideologues with alleged connections to al-Qaeda, Omar Refaair Sorour, was killed during a Libyan National Army (LNA) air strike on a residential area in downtown Derna.

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On 5 June, the Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesperson Ahmed al-Mismari announced that LNA forces had taken control of 75 percent of Derna from the DPF. The day before In a video announcement to the LNA and civilians in Derna, Haftar highlighted to his troops the importance of protecting prisoners of war and warned of the dangers to civilians of Derna in aiding and abetting ‘terrorists”.

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The Libyan National Army (LNA) campaign against the Derna Mujahadeen Shura Council (DMSC) – which has now renamed itself the Derna Protection Force (DPF)– continues in Derna. On 28 May, the LNA announced that it had taken control of the western entrance of Derna, the industrial area of al-Fatayah, and the areas in and around the al-Katib factory.

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On 12 May, the DMSC announced it was dissolving itself and changing its name to ‘the Derna Protection Force’. On 15 May, the LNA’s Omar Mukhtar Operations Room claimed to have completely captured al-Hila, south of Derna, as a part of on going operations to take the city from the DMSC.

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On 7 May, LNA Commander Khalifa Haftar announced that ‘peace efforts’ with the DMSC, which controls Derna, had failed and that the ‘zero hour’ for the ‘liberation’ of Derna had begun. The LNA has claimed that it has made advancements on all fronts in Derna. On 7 May, 7,000 LNA officers conducted a military parade for the 4th anniversary of “Operation Dignity” at Benghazi’s Benina airbase.

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On 23 April, reports suggest the al-Qaeda affiliated jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia (AS) were involved in clashes between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC) west of Derna. On 25 April, an alleged ‘extremist cell’ was apprehended in al-Jufrah by LNA-affiliated forces.

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On 12 April, Libyan National Army (LNA) forces arrested an Ansar al-Sharia (AS) figure from Sirte named Salem Abdul Qaway al-Gaddafi while hiding in the Jufra area. On 14 April, the LNA Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Abdurrazaq al-Nadhouri, issued “final readiness” orders to LNA troops station near Derna heralding an impending assault on the city controlled by the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council.

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On 1 April, in a media statement, Libyan National Army (LNA) leader Khalifa Haftar warned that the time given to the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC) – who occupies and controls the city of Derna – to disarm and lay down their weapons has expired and suggests that major clashes in Derna could start at any time.

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On 11 March, the LNA spokesperson announced that its Sirte Operations Room had killed three ISIS leaders fleeing Derna. On 8 March, a SVBIED attacked a LNA checkpoint south east of Ajdabiya. Two Sudanese civilians and one LNA fighter were reportedly wounded.

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On 4 March, four people were allegedly injured by artillery shelling from the LNA 321 artillery battalion on al-Zintan neighbourhood near the western entrance of Derna. The following day the UN Secretary-General envoy, Ghassan Salame held a meeting in Tripoli with a delegation from Derna to discuss the evolving humanitarian situation in the city.

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An LNA offensive against the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC), which controls Derna, appears imminent. The LNA continues to deploy large ground forces to Derna from Benghazi, Ajdabiya and other areas to prepare for the assault. Haftar dismissed Wanis Bukhamada as head of the Benghazi JSFOR, replacing him with Abdurrazaq al-Nadhouri.

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