Hiftar’s offensive in Benghazi targets Islamists militias such as Feb17 brigade, Rafallah al-Sahati brigade, and Ansar al-Sharia militias. These militias are mainly based on the western side of Benghazi near the main building of Benghazi University in the Gar Younis and al-Laithi areas. Hiftar used ground forces to take on these militias, and it was reported that 120 armed vehicles entered Benghazi on Friday morning May 30th. Hiftar has the support from army units already fighting jihadists in Benghazi such as the Saiqa Units (Special Forces). Hiftar has also used Air Force jets and helicopters to attack Islamist militia targets in Benghazi.
As of May 31, all military zones in Eastern Libya with all their military units and commanders have now joined Hiftar’s “Operation Dignity” against what they called “terrorist groups,” which effectively means any Islamist militias in Eastern Libya including supposedly “moderate Islamists,” such as those aligned to the Muslim Brotherhood. These military zones include Tobruk, the Green Mountain (al Baida, Shahaat and al Marj), Benghazi and Ajdabiya. This movement’s shocking effectiveness resembles the speed with which Cyrenaican army zones defected to the rebels and against Qadhafi in February 2011. And yet, Khiftar is not a popular figure in Libya given that his past connections with the CIA and with Qadhafi leave him deeply tainted in the eyes of most Libyans.