First Published: 2017-10-07

Pro-GNA forces drive rival militia out of Libya's Sabratha
Clashes between pro-unity government security force and militia of people smuggler Ahmad Dabbashi killed 39 people, wounded 300 in weeks of fighting.
Middle East Online

Picture shows bullet holes at ancient Roman ruins in Sabratha, Libya.

TRIPOLI - A security force loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government announced Friday that it has driven a rival militia out of the city of Sabratha, after three weeks of deadly fighting.

The clashes between a security force loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and the militia of the head of a former people smuggling network, Ahmad Dabbashi, have killed 39 people and wounded 300 since September 17.

Sabratha has been "liberated and... the destructive militias have been defeated", the leader of the pro-GNA force, General Omar Abdeljalil, said in a video posted on Facebook.

The GNA, which had originally set up the security force to fight the Islamic State group during its brief occupation of central Sabratha in February 2016, welcomed the announcement.

It expressed "great satisfaction with the positive developments at Sabratha", in a statement posted on Facebook.

Both the GNA and the security force urged the people of Sabratha to refrain from carrying out revenge attacks.

"Those who have complaints must resort to justice and refrain from harming the lives and property of the defeated," said General Abdeljalil.

The violence began with an exchange of gunfire at a checkpoint manned by the security force in which a militiaman was killed.

Libya has plunged into insecurity and political chaos since the ouster and killing of its long-time leader Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed 2011 revolution.

People smugglers have fed on the turmoil, turning violence-wracked Libya into a key gateway for illegal migration to Europe.

Sabratha, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Tripoli where the GNA is based, is Libya's main departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe.

Dabbashi is reportedly among several people smugglers who have decided to halt their lucrative business and cooperate with authorities.

 

Senior Saudi prince blasts Trump's "opportunistic" Jerusalem move

Kuwait ruler’s son named defence minister

Israel PM faces renewed pressure in Europe

Bahraini civil society group criticised after Israel visit

Saudi Arabia lifts decades-long ban on cinemas

EU says Syria war ‘ongoing’ despite Russia pullout

Istanbul nightclub gunman refuses to testify

Integrating Syrians in Turkey carries implications

US opinion views Muslims and Arabs more favourably but political affiliation makes a difference

Iranian conservative protesters say Trump hastening end of Israel

Jordan referred to UN for failing to arrest Sudanese president

Turkey demands life for journalists in coup bid trial

Netanyahu expects EU to follow suit on Jerusalem

Putin orders withdrawal of ‘significant’ amount of troops from Syria

Putin to meet with Sisi in Cairo

GCC at a critical juncture

Houthi rebels tighten grip on Sanaa after Saleh’s assassination

Israel’s Syrian air strikes risk renewing escalation as Iran expands presence in Golan

Qatar to acquire 24 Typhoon fighters from UK

Palestinian stabs Israeli guard in ‘terrorist’ attack

UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed says US Jerusalem decision could help terrorists

Fateh encourages more protests, refuses to meet Pence

Chinese electric carmaker to open Morocco factory

Iraqi victory over IS remains fragile

Morocco’s renewed ties with South Africa likely to consolidate support for Western Sahara stance

Lebanese security forces fire tear gas at protestors

Syria’s justice system: ‘working without a written law'

Egypt revives controversial desert capital project

Iran sentences fugitive ex-bank chief to jail

Iraq announces 'end of the war against Daesh'

Israeli air strike kills 2 in Gaza

UK foreign minister in Iran to push for Briton's release

Turkey's Erdogan seeks to lead Muslim response on Jerusalem

Iraqi Christians celebrate in town retaken from IS

Isolated US defiant at UN Security Council

Putin to visit Turkey for talks on Jerusalem, Syria

Protests sweep Muslim world over Jerusalem

US urges Saudi to show caution in regional disputes

Thousands march in Istanbul to protest US Jerusalem move

Bahrain Shiite leader undergoes surgery

Malaysians, Indonesians protest US move on Jerusalem

EU, Jordan voice backing for Palestinian state

Clashes in West Bank over US Jerusalem move

Macron appeals for calm over US Jerusalem embassy move

World leaders to 're-legitimise' Lebanon PM at Paris talks