Battles in Benghazi between Haftar’s forces and their opponents intensified on 6-8 July as jihadists conducted a surprise counterattack against the LNA on the evening of Eid al-Fitr in Ganfuda. The jihadists’ fierce resistance may demonstrate their desperation, but it casts doubts on the LNA’s pronouncements that the jihadists had been neutralized. The LNA is patrolling the coastal waters to interdict ammunition supplies to Ganfuda and stop the potential evacuation of jihahi fighters, with a similar checkpoint active in downtown Sabri, near Benghazi port, but these do not seem to have eliminated the besieged fighters’ ability to resist.
At the same time that these clashes are escalating in Benghazi, there has been an escalation of conflict in Derna between the LNA and the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC). A three-week ceasefire was breached when the LNA conducted airstrikes on alleged DMSC targets in and around the Derna port on 9 July. The DMSC’s support for jihadists in Ajdabiya and Benghazi has also served to fuel tensions with the LNA.