Libya Situation Update: 17–22 December

  1. 16–17 DEC: Pro-LNA Local Tawhid al-Salafiya fighters from the 7 October neighborhood clashed with Ajdabiya Shura Council (ASC) fighters as they attempted to attempted to storm home of a leader of the organization, Abrik al-Zawi al-Malqeb, also known as Belmasriya, in the Qaluz and al-Ferjan neighborhoods near the 7 October Bridge in downtown Ajdabiya. Two 7 October fighters were killed in the clashes, and three other residents were wounded, as ASC forces used heavy weapons to support Belmasriya’s escape. The Red Crescent opened a humanitarian corridor along al-Qaluz Street and at least 50 families have evacuated the city. Mayor of the Ajdabiya, Salam Jadran, pledged to protect the city from forces attempting to “destabilize” the city. Additional, a large number of LNA pickup trucks from the UAE arrived in Ajdabiya in preparation for ongoing military operations in the city. (al-Wasat)(Akhbar Libya 24)(al-Wasat)(Akhbar Libya 24)(Libya Akhbar)(al-Arabiya)(Afrigate)(LNA Spokesman)(LNA Ajdabiya Operations Room)(LNA Statement)
  2. 18 DEC: At least 15 individuals, including Municipal Council Member Abdul Monem al-Zwai, were killed and 25 wounded in two days of fighting. LNA Ajdabiya Operations Room released a video of fighting between LNA-allied forces and Islamic State/ASC fighters near the Residential Complex in the 7 October neighborhood of the city.(Libya Observer)(Libya Observer)(LNA Ajdabiya Operations Room)
  3. 19 DEC: At least ten LNA-allied fighters have been killed during ongoing fighting in Ajdabiya. Four of those men were found with gunshot wounds to the head and signs of torture near the Faculty of Science. Two additional bodies were found on the Jalu-Ajdabiya road, near the ASC-controlled industrial neighborhood. Sporadic clashes continued throughout the day despite the ceasefire announced by the mayor, Salim Jadhran. Additionally, the LNA claimed that a prominent IS/ASC leader Ahmad Zawi, the brother of Abrik al-Zawi (mentioned in previous reporting) was killed during the fighting. The Ajdabiya Shura Council has denied any responsibility for the fighting and claims that the LNA-affiliated militias in the city killed civilians and mutilated their bodies to turn the locals against ASC. (Afrigate)(Afrigate)(Libya Herald)(Akhbar Libya 24)(Afrigate)(Libyan News 1)(Twitter)
  4. 20 DEC: Clashes continued in Ajdabiya as the ASC reported four casualties from its ranks. Medical sources reported that 19 bodies were delivered to the Muhammad Maqrif Hospital and 37 individuals were currently being treated. The LNA also conducted 10 air strikes targeting militant positions in Benghazi and Ajdabiya. Unconfirmed reports indicate that a private jet landed at the Ajdabiya airport to transport wounded ASC fighters. The source claims that the airlift operation was linked to Abdulhakim Belhaj. The GNC has condemned the fighting in Ajdabiya but did not explicitly name the LNA as the aggressor. (al-Wasat)(al-Wasat)(Libya 24 TV)(Libya 24 TV)(al-Wasat) (al-Wasat)(Akbar Libya 24)(al-Wasat)(Afrigate)(Akhbar Libya 24)(Libya Observer)(Twitter)
  5. 19–20 DEC: According to local officials, at approximately 2am, an improvised explosive device (IED) was either thrown from a moving vehicle or placed in a bag at the Military Intelligence Headquarters in Sabratha. At least two people were wounded and significant damage was done to the building. IS is suspected of carrying out the attack but has not claimed it so far. The mayor of Sabratha, Hussein Dawadi, declared a state of emergency and enhanced security measures. Following the IED attack on 20 December, unidentified gunmen assassinated two young men in Sabratha. (Afrigate)(Libyan News)(Twitter)(Facebook)(Facebook)(Twitter)(Twitter)(al-Wasat)(Libya Herald)(Akhbar Libya 24)(Libya News 1)(Libya News 1)(Libya 24 TV)
  6. 17–20 DEC: The UN-supported talks in Skhirat concluded today with the signing of a unity agreement. Although the delegates agreed to the document, the presidents of both the HoR and GNC do not support the agreement. Additionally, neither body has voted to approve the declaration. Despite this, the proposed president of the National Unity Government, Fayez Sarraj, called on all Libyans to support the agreement. A unity government will be proposed in 60 days, however, several hurdles remain, including the location of the government, and the acquiescence of powerful actors such as Khalifa Haftar, and both Misrata and Tripoli militia leaders. Finally, a dispute has emerged regarding the representation of Fezzan. Originally, Salah Makhzum was nominated by the GNC to represent the region on the presidential council, but due to popular discontent, he has been replaced. As of 20 December, a number of Libyan political groups have aligned themselves either for or against the UN-sponsored unity deal. The National Front and the Tripoli Council of Elders both oppose the arrangement, claiming that it does not reflect the consensus of the Libyan people. Conversely, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Zintan City Council, and the Tuareg National Movement all support the unity government. (al-Wasat)(al-Wasat)(al-Wasat) (UNSMIL)(Twitter)(AP)(Libya Observer)(Facebook) (Twitter)(Twitter)(Twitter)(Fezzan Libya Media Group)(Libya Herald)
  7. 21 DEC: The Bayda branch of the National Oil Company reported a contract to sell 2M barrels of oil to Egypt. The eastern branch claims to have six open contracts to export oil from the Hariga terminal. (World Oil)(Twitter)(al-Wasat)
  8. 21 DEC: IS released a video showcasing the Islamic Police in Sirte. The video shows at least 20 hisbah members clad in baklavas under the command of a Tunisian emir.(IS Media Office of Tarablus)
  9. 22 DEC: Unknown attackers detonated explosives, causing heavy damage to the Abu Mishmasha Center, a Sufi gathering place in central Tripoli. (Libya Observer)(Twitter)
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