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    General Khalifa Haftar, commander in the Libyan National Army (LNA), arrives to attend a meeting for talks over a political deal to help end Libya’s crisis in La Celle-Saint-Cloud near Paris, France. (File)

    Libyan Military Chief Haftar Announces Offensive to Take Derna

    © AFP 2018 / PHILIPPE WOJAZER/POOL
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    CAIRO (Sputnik) - Libyan National Army’s (LNA) Commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar has announced the start of a military operation to liberate Derna, which has been under terrorists' siege since the overthrow of country’s longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, LNA’s spokesman Ahmed Mismari said.

    "Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar has announced the start of operation to liberate Derna," Mismari said.

    According to Mismari, the military warned local residents of the need to observe security measures, and in particular, called on the civilian population not to approach the places of concentration of militants.

    Derna is located 620 miles to the east from Tripoli and it is controlled by terrorist groups linked to Al Qaeda (terror group banned in Russia). Previously, the city was controlled by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, outlawed in Russia. This city is considered to be the last stronghold of Islamic militants in the east of the country, which is controlled by Haftar's forces.

    Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 civil war that resulted in the overturn Gaddafi. The eastern part of the crisis-torn state is governed by its parliament, with headquarters in the city of Tobruk. The parliament is backed by the LNA, which is engaged in struggle against militants. At the same time, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, operates in the country's west and is headquartered in Tripoli.

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    offensive, Khalifa Haftar, Derna, Africa, Libya
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