Haftar’s forces take control of Libya’s Sirte

A Libyan flag flies at the entrance of Sirte, Libya October 30, 2016. REUTERS/Hani Amara

The forces of  Khalifa Haftar said they had entered Sirte, taking control of large parts of the coastal city after clashes with the city’s Protection and Security Force.

Khaled al-Mahjoub, a spokesman of Haftar’s forces, said the fighters captured “all the districts surrounding the city”, including al-Qardabiya airbase, before moving towards the city centre.

However, Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) rejected the information in a statement, referring to it as “rumours claiming gains of militias and mercenaries of war criminal Haftar”.

GNA said the government forces repelled Haftar’s attack, destroying two armed vehicles near the east of Sirte.

“The situation inside Sirte is completely under control, and the clashes that took place on the eve of this day took place outside the city,” the government said.

Meanwhile, sources from inside the city said Brigade 604 – a Saudi-lined Madkhali force – betrayed and abandoned Sirte Protection and Security Force and allowed Haftar’s forces to enter the city.

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