13:03 GMT +323 July 2018
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    In this March 18, 2015 file photo, Gen. Khalifa Haftar, then Libya's top army chief, speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in al-Marj, Libya.

    Libyan National Army's Representative Denies Reports of Marshal Haftar's Death

    © AP Photo / Mohammed El-Sheikhy
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    Conflicting reports have emerged about the fate of the Libyan National Army's Commander's fate: while a source in Tripoli told Sputnik that Marshal Khalifa Haftar had passed away, a member of the Army told Sputnik he is in good health.

    "Gentlemen, the marshal is in good health. You will soon witness it", the Libyan National Army's  representative Ahmed al-Mismari told Sputnik.

    Earlier in the day, a source in Tripoli told Sputnik that rumors of Haftar's passing were correct. "The information about his death has been received," the source said.

    Egyptian lawmaker Mustafa Bakri issued a tweet about Haftar's alleged death, writing that "The departure of Field Marshal Haftar, commander-in-chief of the Libyan Armed Forces, is a great loss. He was a common denominator among the honorable sons of Libya."

    The Libya Observer has also reported that Haftar passed, citing diplomatic sources.

    The Libyan Express newspaper has confirmed the reports of Haftar's death.

    However, other reports have indicated that news of the general's death were "baseless," and started by a TV channel linked to the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey.

    Earlier, Libyan National Army political administration head Hussein al-Obeidi said that Haftar had left France and returned to Benghazi on Friday, according to the EREM News portal. Al-Obeidi said that he had personally met Field Marshal Hafter upon his return to Libya, and said that the field marshal's health was "excellent" and that he was "in good physical shape."

    The official also denied that Haftar had suffered a stroke, calling such information "rumors spread by media supported by political Islam."

    This week, Le Monde reported that Haftar may ave been sent for urgent treatment at a Paris hospital. According to the newspaper, the 75-year-old military commander, presumably suffering a stroke, was taken by plane to Paris via Jordan. LNA officials said however that Haftar had gone to Jordan for political negotiations.

    Earlier Friday, a source said to be close to the matter told Reuters that Haftar had indeed been treated in a Paris hospital. The source declined to comment on the general's condition.

    Libya collapsed as a state following NATO's 2011 operation to topple long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, splitting into a series of militia-held territories, including territories controlled by the Daesh (ISIS)* terrorist group. The largest forces included the Haftar-backed House of Representatives in Tobruk, eastern Libya, and the Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli. A UN-brokered ceasefire between Tobruk and Tripoli broke down in late 2017.

    Haftar and his Libyan National Army played the key role in defeating Islamist forces in Benghazi last summer. Egypt has supported Haftar's efforts against jihadist movements. Haftar's goals have included the complete destruction of the Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood,* and any other Islamist terror groups operating in Libya.

    *Terrorist groups banned in Russia. 

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