Benghazi Situation Update: 20–21 February

LNA Launches “Blood of the Martyrs” Operation

  1. 20 FEB:LNA forces announced the beginning of the “Blood of the Martyrs” Operation in Benghazi, claiming to advance near al-Biylah Street and besiege the Battalion 319 Camp in the Buatni District, as well as advance near al-Boutas Street in the Laithi District, seizing a number of buildings near the Pepsi Factory, which was taken by insurgents on 03 February. Three HBIEDs exploded during the Buatni clashes, without resulting in casualties. 3 were killed and 3 wounded from LNA Saiqa forces during clashes along the Airport Road in Buatni. LNA forces also claimed to have arrested three members of IS, two in Laithi and one, an Egyptian national, in the Souq al-Hout district. LNA First Infantry Brigade claimed to have suffered five fatalities in an IED explosion. (Akhbar Libya 24)(Libya 24 TV)(LNA Statement)(Akhbar Libya 24)(Akhbar Libya 24)(LNA Statement)(Twitter)(al-Wasat)(Libyan News 1)(Libya Observer)(LNA Statement)

2. 20 FEB: Ansar al-Sharia released a series of statements claiming operations in the Buatni and Western neighborhoods of Benghazi. The group claimed to have shelled LNA forces with heavy artillery and detonated three IEDs in Buatni and seized an armored vehicle during a failed LNA attempt to capture territory in Western Benghazi. (ASL Statement)(ASL Statement)(ASL Statement)(ASL Statement)(ASL Statement)(ASL Statement)(ASL Statement)(ASL Statement)

3. 21 FEB: The LNA released two videos of clashes between its forces and IS fighters in the Laithi District of Benghazi. In addition to showing LNA forces using at least two T-55 Tanks, technicals armed with DiSHK (and ZPU) AA guns and recoilless rifles, mortars and small arms, the video also appears to show a UAE-manufactured NIMR armored vehicle, likely recently delivered. LNA First Saiqa Battalion Commander, Col. Mayloud al-Zwai, claimed his forces managed to destroy an IS/SCBR weapons cache in the Buatni District as LNA forces made gains in both Buatni and the Sidi Faraj District of Benghazi. LNA forces also claimed to have captured the “Savings Bank” in Buatni. (Libya 24 TV)(LNA Video)(al-Wasat)(LNA Video)(Libyan News 1)

4. 21 FEB:LNA forces allegedly seized control over the majority of the Hawari District in Benghazi, as 204 Tank Battalion and supporting Tawhid al-Salafiya and Buhamdiya neighborhood youths seized complete control over the Safsafa area and the Hawari Hospital, and allegedly entered the al-Qawarasha area. An LNA commander, Col. Abdullah Sha’afi confirmed that his forces and local auxiliaries control the main roads in the area. LNA Battalion 22 “Buhaliqa” fighters also claimed unspecified advances in the Gar Younis area. (LNA Twitter)(Libyan News 1)(Afrigate)(Afrigate)(Libyan News 1)(LNA Statement)(Afrigate)(Libya al-Hurra)(LNA Twitter)(Afrigate)(LNA Video)(LNA Statement)(Twitter)

5. 21 FEB: LNA Battalions 240, 302, 304, 308, 309, and 519 launched an attack against IS/SCBR forces in Western Benghazi, claiming to have seized control over the entirety of the al-Halis area, in addition to “fully securing” the Mreissa Port. Battalion 309 forces moved to remove landmines/IEDs in and surrounding the captured areas in addition to clearing operations to eliminate retreating insurgent forces in the al-Tika, Budarisa, Buafakhra, and al-Qanfuda areas. Four military engineers were killed in an IED explosion during sweeping operations. (LNA Statement)(al-Wasat)(Twitter)(Akhbar Libya 24)(Akhbar Libya 24)(LNA Statement)(Akhbar Libya 24)(Twitter)(Libya 24 TV)(Afrigate News)(Libyan News 1)(al-Wasat)

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