On 2 January, units from Misrata’s Third Force retook the strategic checkpoint of Gweirat al-Mal that lies between Brak and Temenhint airbases in south-west Libya. Libyan National Army (LNA) forces had seized the checkpoint last week. The Misratan advance took the LNA forces by surprise; 12 LNA fighters were captured and 6 injured. On 3 January, the LNA conducted an airstrike against an airbase in Jufra. The airstrike targeted a C130 military cargo aircraft transporting senior Misratan security and military personnel to Jufra to attend a funeral. One civilian was killed while the head of Misrata’s Military Council (MMC), Colonel Ibrahim al-Mai, was injured in the attack and his arm later amputated. Jufra and Temenhint airbases are also used by hardliner anti-Haftar Islamist forces.
On 4 January, Misrata’s Municipal Council, which represents the more moderate faction within Misrata, issued a statement denouncing Haftar as a war criminal. The statement held Haftar responsible for destabilizing southern Libya and called on all Misratan fighters to be ready to mobilize against the LNA in southern or western Libya. Ahmed Metig, Presidential Council member from Misrata, also declared readiness to retaliate against Haftar.
On 5 January, a meeting was held in Sebha between various tribal elders, civil society activists and tribal militias. They issued a statement in support of the LNA and demanded that Misrata’s Third Force leave the area. On 7 January, there was a demonstration in Hun and Jufra demanding that all militias depart Jufra and calling for the region not to be used as a fighting ground.