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Libay's Khalifa Haftar at a meeting in Benghazi in Oct. 2017 (Photo Credit: Esam Omran Al-Fetori, Reuters)

Cairo – Khaled Mahmoud
Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar surprised the Government of National Accord (GNA) with the sudden mobilization of his forces towards the Tripoli battlefronts.

A military source said the units moved on Sunday as part of a push to “decide the battle” in the LNA’s favor and ahead of a “wide-scale storming” of the capital “awaited by every free and noble Libyan”.

He said the LNA was keen on “cleansing the capital from terrorist gangs and militias,” stressing that the military was capable of executing its missions and “retaliating against any foreign terrorist invasion aimed at destabilizing Libya.”

The units moved to secure strategic positions and vital institutions in several regions and cities across the country.

A statement from the Tariq bin Ziad brigade confirmed the mobilization, but did not specify the locations that units had deployed to.

It only said that the forces had deployed to “strategic positions and vital institutions in order to secure them and safeguard the Libyan people’s interests and resources against looting, theft and corruption, in line with the LNA’s mission to protect the nation and its sovereignty.”

Photo released by the LNA showed dozens of tanks, armored vehicles and modern heavy artillery heading towards Tripoli.

On the ground, witnesses and local media said a Turkish drone took off from the capital’s GNA-held Mitiga airport towards southern Tripoli.

The Tariq bin Ziad brigade reported heavy fighting with heavy artillery between the LNA and militias on the airport road and al-Ramleh positions in Tripoli. The brigade had on Sunday announced that it had destroyed three reconnaissance vehicles belonging to militias in the Abugrein region near the western coastal city of Misrata.