General Hafter launched a major offensive against his opponents in Benghazi this week. Fierce fighting has continued in the Jebel Nafusa as the Zintani brigades continue their assault against Operation Libya Dawn controlled towns in the area.

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The army’s referring to the Zintani brigades as part of its own forces is a new and notable development. Zintani brigades made another attempt to fight back against Operation Libya Dawn this week when they launched an offensive against the town of Kikla in the western mountains.

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The Zintani militias are apparently preparing for war against Dawn who just evicted them from the Airport; the head of the Qaqaa Brigade, Othman Mlegta, has gone to Tobruk recently to coordinate the delivery of equipment and define a strategy for a counteroffensive.

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Violence has continued in Benghazi where General Khalifa Haftar and those Islamist forces fighting under the umbrella of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council are locked into a seemingly intractable battle to control Benina Airport. However, the Islamists still very much have the upper hand.

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The HoR responded to the triumph of Operation Libya Dawn by branding its forces as well as those of Ansar Al-Sharia as terrorists. It promoted polarisation mirroring the moves of Operation Dawn. It also created a climate in which ‘moderate’ Islamists like the MB and Misratans were keen to work with the emerging ISIS groups.

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Benghazi has been the scene of further violence as General Khalifa Haftar renewed his attacks against Islamist targets in key neighbourhoods of the city. Libyan Air Force (LAF) commander Saccar Jurushi confirmed this week that LAF jets had carried out a number of airstrikes in Derna. Reports emerged on 18 August that several camps belonging to Libya Dawn in Tripoli were the targets of airstrikes. As of yet it is not clear who was responsible for the attack.

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Following the series of victories by Islamist militants, fighting under the banner of the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council (BRSC), against Libyan National Army Special Forces targets last week, Genral Khalifa Haftar is trying hard to prove that he is not a spent force. Special Forces fighting with Operation Dignity attacked a number of militant bases in the Benghazi neighbourhood of Sidi Faraj this week, clashing with members of Ansar Al-Sharia.

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