Throughout the last week, there appears to have been a build-up of forces on the Abu Grein frontline, south of Misrata. On 8 March, the Misratan frontline field commander Arfidah was killed. On 10 March, a member of the Nawasi Brigade was killed, possibly a retribution for the killing of Arfidah. On 10 January, the GNA’s Western Military Region Commander, Juwaili, reportedly attempted to create a military camp in the Nafousa Mountains.

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On 9 July, the GNA Minister of Interior, Fathi Bashaagha, announced that a suspected ISIS member had been arrested in Zawiyya days prior, while additional ISIS fighters had been captured in Abu Grein the week before.

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On 30 April, the GNA’s Foreign Minister issued a statement expressing deep concern to the French Foreign Ministry about the sighting of a French fighter jet over the skies of Misrata and Abu Grein. Throughout last week, most of the major international players in Libya have issued statements in reaction to LNA head Haftar’s speech on 27 April in which he declared he had the people’s mandate to abolish the LPA and establish military rule in Libya. The reactions of Haftar’s main backers, namely the UAE, Egypt and Russia, have varied.

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On 13 April, Russia allegedly sent Syrian fighters to Libya to fight for the LNA. The same day, the Sudanese MFA released a statement denying that any forces from its country were participating in the clashes in southern Tripoli or within Libya more broadly. This comes amid several photos circulating online claiming that Sudanese forces were killed on the Abu Grein axis.

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On 13 April, armed groups aligned to the GNA claimed to have captured pro-LNA towns, including Sabratha. The same day, reports emerged on social media claiming that the GNA has been attempting to bribe the city of Bani Walid. On 12 April, the LNA undertook an assault on the Abu Grein axis. In a counter-attack on the same locations, all territory was re-captured. On 6 April, an armed group stormed the MMRA station at al-Shuwayrif and shut off the pipeline, effectively cutting off the water supply to Tripoli, Bani Walid, Tarhouna and Misrata.

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On 25 March, GNA-aligned forces launched multiple coordinated assaults on LNA forces at Watiya airbase, in Abu Grein and in the south of Tripoli, in what has been dubbed as “Operation Peace Storm.” On 29 March, Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control confirmed eight cases of COVID-19 in Libya. Both the GNA in Tripoli and the eastern-based parallel government have imposed additional measures.

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On 21 January, the GNA’s deputy ambassador to Tunis resigned. On 22 January, several projectiles were fired at Mitiga Airport, resulting in flights being cancelled at the airfield. On 24 January, Turkish President Erdogan stated that Turkey has sent military personnel, in the form of a training and cooperation team, to Libya. On 26 January, LNA forces clashed with anti-LNA forces from Misrata in a failed attempt to capture the town of Abu Grein. On 26 January, the LNA spokesperson al-Mismari confirmed the assault but stated the LNA does not believe the assault is a breach of the Russia-Turkey ceasefire.

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On 27 May, Misrata security forces undertook a raid in Abu Grein, arresting alleged ISIS supporter Faris Belhaj. On 28 May, the Misratan Central Counter-Terrorism Force arrested seven alleged ISIS members in Abu Grein. On 28 May, ISIS was observed south of Sirte. On 30 May, ISIS published a second set of “Diary of a Mujahedeen” photos. On 3 June, ISIS claimed to have attacked the LNA) Checkpoint 400 in the Fuqaha area. On 3 June, ISIS claimed responsibility for the two vehicle-borne IEDs attacks in Derna conducted on 2 June.

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The war between Misrata and ISIS is heating up. Simultaneously, Haftar has not engaged ISIS in any meaningful way this week. Although most of the talk of offensives against Sirte is comprised of hot air, real engagements have started to kick off on the Misratan side and these are likely to occasion countermeasures by ISIS. For example, On 22 May, landmines left by ISIS near Abu Grein killed an LNA officer and wounded two soldiers.

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On 3 September, the PC of the GNA announced that the GNA’s Minister of Interior (MoI), Bashaagha, had been re-instated. On 7 September, the GNA’s VoR spokesperson, Gununu, announced hat it had taken down a helicopter belonging to the LNA near the Sirte-Jufra frontlines. On 2 September, Gununu accused LNA forces of violating a declared ceasefire for the second time in 3 days. On 4 September, the spokesperson for the GNA Sirte-Jufra Operations Room, Drah, denied that mercenaries from the Russian PMC Wagner had pulled out of Sirte and Jufra.

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On 13 July, the HoR said that the Egyptian armed forces have the right to interfere in Libya should they see an imminent threat. On 13 July, Juwaili issued an official decree to create a new joint force to secure the western region. On 11 July, UNSMIL held a virtual meeting with the GNA MoI to discuss SSR and DDR efforts. On 12 July, Serraj met with the GNA military region commanders while LNA forces continued to mobilise to Sirte. On 8 and 9 July, clashes occurred between militias in Janzour that resulted in at least 10 people being killed.

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On 3 January, Haftar declared a state of full mobilisation to defend Libya from Turkey. On 4 January, the HoR held an emergency meeting and asked the international community to withdraw its recognition of the GNA. On 4 January, the LNA launched a drone strike targeting a military academy camp in Tripoli and killing 30 people. On 6 January, the LNA launched an assault on Sirte, resulting in the withdrawal of local anti-LNA forces and GNA-aligned Misratan forces.

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GNA-aligned factions have condemned and denied claims there are terrorists fighting within their ranks. On 3 August, BDB member Ali Abdulhafiz al-Zindli was reportedly killed in an LNA airstrike. On 5 August, a video emerged showing a South African who has been held captive in Libya since 2017 when he was seized by a splinter group linked to al-Qaeda.

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The LNA conducted several airstrikes throughout last week. On 4 August, at least 42 people were killed and more than 60 injured after an LNA aerial attack hit a town hall meeting in Murzuq. On 5 August, the LNA hit Misrata Air College.

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On 11 January, a would-be ISIS bomber surrendered himself to al-Bunyan al-Marsous (BM) forces after defusing the bomb he was instructed to detonate. On 14 January, BM forces arrested an Egyptian who was allegedly hiding and transporting ISIS fugitives out of Sirte.

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