On 25 January, Libyan National Army (LNA) forces led by Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar announced they had taken full control of Ganfuda in south-west Benghazi from the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council (BRSC). This was achieved after the LNA’s main eastern and western fronts met in the al-Tira district, forcing the last remaining jihadi fighters to flee and seek refuge in the ‘12 Flats’ neighborhood in the Abu Saneeb area. During the LNA’s advance, 63 prisoners were reportedly freed from jihadi-controlled detention centers in Ganfuda.
The same day, a Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) detonated in Jamal Abd al-Naser St. in downtown Benghazi. The blast occurred near military vehicles stationed in that area. Four people were killed and 6 injured in the blast. Damage was caused to a restaurant and shops nearby.
On 26 January, Haftar formally announced the victory, praising the LNA forces and promising to continue the fight until ‘terrorists’ are eradicated from their final posts. A number of LNA infantry brigades were pulled back from Ganfuda and redirected to the Sabri and Souq al-Hout areas in central Benghazi. These areas are now the last enclaves of the jihadi coalition in the city.
Col. Jamal Zahawi said that the LNA’s ‘final’ battle will be to eradicate the remaining jihadis currently cornered in the 12 Flats area. He added that this may take some time due to underground spaces in these flats. The LNA’s two veteran forces, Zawiiya Martyrs Brigade and the Special Forces (Saiqa) were preparing to launch the ‘final’ assault on 30 January. On 28 January, LNA forces reportedly prevented an attempt by jihadi fighters to escape the 12 Flats area.
The LNA air force conducted airstrikes against positions Derna Mujahadeen Shura Council (DMSC) positions in Derna last week. On 25 January, the mountainous al-Hajjaj area overlooking Derna’s eastern coastal district was targeted, while on 28 January, the western approach to the city was targeted.