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, after having supposedly taken control of 75 percent of Derna three weeks prior, and that Brigadier General Salem al-Rifadi was appointed the head of the Joint Security Operations Room for the city.
Prior to Haftar’s announcement on 27 June, the Derna Protection Force (DPF) claimed to have been heavily barraged for over 24 hours by UAE unmanned drone strikes on their positions in the Shiha neighborhood. Conflicting reports suggest that former Derna Mujahadeen Shura Council (DMSC) Chairman Atiya al-Sharrir was killed during these strikes.
Derna has been under the control of the DMSC since 2014. In May 2017 the DMSC changed its name to the Derna Protection Force (DPF), in what has been suggested as an effort to distance itself from the DMSC’s alleged links to al-Qaeda. The name change coincided with the LNA encircling and ramping up of its campaign to siege the city that month, which began progressively in mid-April of this year.