Renegade Libyan General, Khalifa Haftar, has declared that one of the warring groups in Sabratha is affiliated with his self-styled army, saying the ongoing fighting in the city is legitimate.
In a statement to Italy’s AKI news agency, Haftar revealed that the ISIS Fighting Operation Room is launching a legitimate war against the terrorists and human smugglers and traffickers.
“The war will not stop until those groups hand over their weapons, release arrested people for blackmail and hand over foreign fighters who are fighting with them". He said.
The power-obsessed General also denied social media claims of his meeting with Commander of Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigade, Haitem Tajouri, in France, saying he rejects "the principle of sitting down with leaders of undisciplined groups".
Haftar’s statement refutes claims of the ISIS Fighting Operation Room that it’s acting under the Defense Ministry of Presidential Council.
The ISIS Fighting Operation Room is made up of former army officers. It’s backed by a Salafist militia group called “Wadi Brigade,” which is controlled by followers of Madkhali sect and owes allegiance to Khalifa Haftar’s Dignity Operation.
Dignity Operation spokesperson, Ahmed Al-Mismari, told Sky News Arabia TV on Sunday that the ISIS Fighting Operation Room and Wadi Salafist militia are their affiliates and they will continue the fighting until they eradicate the “terrorist groups” from Sabratha.
To add fuel to the fire, the High Fatwa Committee of the eastern government has called for Jihad in Sabratha against what it called the “Kharijites,” a term Dignity Operation uses to describe its opponents.
The Awqaf Authority of the government, led by Abdullah Al-Thanni, also ordered mosques in the eastern region to perform Qunut prayers to ask God to defeat the “Kharijites” in Sabratha.
Meanwhile, Chief of Staff of Presidential Council, Abdurrahman Al-Taweel, ordered Monday the warring parties in Sabratha to stop the clashes and he tasked the head of intelligence office, military police chief, and Sabratha security department chief to supervise the ceasefire he ordered.
He added that any violations will render the party committing them as illegitimate.
Both Brigade 48 and the ISIS Fighting Operation Room said they will comply with the ceasefire orders, but the Wadi militia is rejecting it, accusing Brigade 48 of being a group of “terrorists”.
Earlier, The Presidential Council in its capacity as Supreme Commander of Libyan Army ordered Chief of Western Military Zone, Osama Jawaili, to intervene and stops the fighting.