ISIS IN ACTION
A suspected Islamic State (ISIS) arms cache containing unguided air-to-ground bombs and fuel was reportedly found by Libyan National Army (LNA) units approximately 90km south of Nawfaliya, a town east of Sirte. On 11 February, Misrata’s Air Academy chief said that ISIS cells are regrouping in the regions south-west of Misrata, near Bani Walid. In Sebha, there were reports of 14 ISIS fighters with five ‘technicals’ –usually pick-up trucks with guns mounted on the back — changing tires in a local shop.
The process of resettling displaced families from Sirte is ongoing. On 10 February, the al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) operations room announced the beginning of the second stage of return for Sirte residents in the Third District. On 13 February, BM said that 585 families had returned to the Hay al-Gharbiya area (in the 700 residential area) south of Sirte, while 1025 families returned to the Third Residential area on the coast. However, Sirte remains highly contested in terms of politics and security. On 11 February, Sirte’s mayor and two of his assistants were kidnapped in Tripoli.
Informed sources say that Fayez al-Serraj, Prime Minister of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) Serraj, will soon present a new political roadmap for the Libyan crisis, with the blessing of Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt who are leading regional diplomacy efforts. The new deal reportedly involves a small central government, which will include Haftar, and new parliamentary elections. Reports indicate that Serraj is due to meet with Haftar in Cairo on 14 February, after a planned meeting on 13 February was postponed. Serraj is expected to take the deal formally to Moscow later this month to pressure Haftar into agreement.
On 9 February, the US State department issued a statement expressing ‘serious concern’ at the formation and deployment of the new anti-GNA ‘Libyan National Guard’ (LNG) forces in Tripoli. On 11 February, the US obstructed the replacement of Martin Kobler as UN Libya Envoy with Palestinian Salam Fayyad. Fayyad is reported to have been close with Serraj during the UN political dialogue process which led to the formation of the GNA in late 2015.
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