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article imageOp-Ed: Haftar attacks Derna but fails to defend oil port from IS attack

By Ken Hanly     Apr 23, 2016 in World
Tobruk - After the Islamic State retreated from the outskirts of Derna, warplanes of Khalifa Haftar's air force are still carrying out strikes on the city.
The Libya Observer reports that three have been killed and others injured as the planes hit civilian targets according to a source within the city. Two airstrikes were conducted on Saturday, one hitting a brick factory and a second the southern entrance to the city. On Friday warplanes carried out a total of eight airstrikes on different locations occupied by revolutionaries. Derna is ruled by the Shura Council of Derna Jihadists.The group is largely responsible for driving the Islamic State out of Derna although the LNA did engage against the IS before they retreated. Pro-LNA and Haftar sources, often repeated by mainstream media, attribute the success to the LNA. There is no mention of the fact that the revolutionaries drove out IS from most of the city ages ago. The problem for western media is that the Council includes members associated with Al Qaeda so they must be bad guys. However, the former rival "Salvation" government in Tripoli were allies to the Council as they were with the Council in Benghazi. Some members of the GNA have the same perspective on events. The Observer claims that this is the third time that Haftar-associated warplanes have targeted revolutionary locations since Derna was freed from IS militants.
It may be that Haftar may be intending to move his own troops into the suburbs of Derna just abandoned by the Islamic State. Consider this tweet:: "Khalifa Haftar militias give 24h to Fatayah residents in Derna to leave before destroying the region by airstrikes." Most western media are paying no attention to what is happening. All attention is on an attack by the Islamic State south of Brega.
Even Reuters manages to have a report on the attack. The attack was south of the Brega oil terminal. One guard was killed and five others injured including Ibrahim Jathran, leader of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), according to security and medical sources. The article notes that the PFG is one of the groups supporting the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA). The article fails to mention that Jathran is also at odds with General Haftar who does not support the GNA as yet. Basheer Bu Thefeirah, commander of the Ajdabia border sector, said that the attackers came from both the east and the west and were attempting to storm Brega but were blocked by the PFG. Note that the Haftar's Libyan National Army and warplanes did not help against the Islamic State. They were busy attacking newly-liberated Derna.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about derna, Shura Council of Derna Jihadists, Islamic State in Libya, Khalifa Haftar
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