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Old 04-07-2019, 07:15 AM
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Arrow American troops in Libya moved out of country as violence escalates near capital

American troops in Libya moved out of country as violence escalates near capital
By: Sudarsan Raghavan 4/7/19
RE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...=.d9950262f160

Photo link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/resiz...AUG4POBGSM.jpg
Libyan National Army members, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, pose as they head out of Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli on Sunday. (Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters)

CAIRO — American forces currently operating inside Libya have relocated temporarily outside the war-riven country due to growing unrest in the Libyan capital, the U.S. military’s top commander for Africa said Sunday.

“The security realities on the ground in Libya are growing increasingly complex and unpredictable,” Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, head of U.S. Africa Command, said in a statement Sunday.

The contingent of U.S. forces present in Libya provides military support for counterterrorism activities and diplomatic missions and works to improve security in the region, the statement said. Waldhauser did not discuss where the U.S. forces have been relocated.

The announcement comes as the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli vowed to defend the capital against a renegade militia seeking to storm its way into the city, a showdown that threatened to spill into bloody urban combat in the streets of Tripoli.

On Saturday, fighters loyal to warlord Khalifa Hifter said they had overrun the airport, on the southern edge of the city. But forces for the U.N.-backed government mounted a counterattack — aided by reinforcements flowing into the city — and it was unclear which side held the airfield by nightfall.

The airport has been closed since it suffered widespread damage during battles between rival groups in 2014. But it would be a symbolic blow to the government if the site fell to Hifter, who could use it as a key staging ground for further advances.

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Personal note: I wonder what message this sends to other countries?

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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Old 04-07-2019, 07:18 AM
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Arrow US pulls forces from Libya amid fighting near capital

US pulls forces from Libya amid fighting near capital
By: Rami Musa & Sammy Magdy of AP News - 4-7-19
RE: https://apnews.com/81567c0fa8734342b6d8579bbd0e84e0

BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — The United States said Sunday it has temporarily withdrawn some of its forces from Libya due to “security conditions on the ground,” as a Libyan military commander’s forces advanced toward the capital, Tripoli, clashing with rival militias.

A small contingent of American troops has been in Libya in recent years helping local forces combat Islamic State and al-Qaida militants, as well as protecting diplomatic facilities.

“The security realities on the ground in Libya are growing increasingly complex and unpredictable,” said Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the head of U.S. Africa Command. “Even with an adjustment of the force, we will continue to remain agile in support of existing U.S. strategy.”

He did not provide details on the number of U.S. troops that have been withdrawn or on how many remain inside the country.

The self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, launched a surprise offensive against the capital last week, a move that could potentially drag the country back into civil war. Libya has been gripped by unrest since the 2011 uprising that overthrew and killed long-ruling dictator Moammar Gadhafi, and in recent years has been governed by rival authorities in the east and in Tripoli, in the west, each backed by various armed groups.

Fighting was underway Sunday at the international airport, some 24 kilometers (15 miles) from central Tripoli, after Hifter claimed to have seized the area. The airport was destroyed in a previous bout of militia fighting in 2014. Hifter said his forces had launched airstrikes targeting rival militias on the outskirts of Tripoli.

The rival militias, which are affiliated with a U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, said they had also carried out airstrikes, slowing Hifter’s advance.

At least 23 people, including civilians, have been killed on both sides since Thursday.

The Interior Ministry of the Tripoli-based government said in a statement that at least nine people, including a physician, were killed. It said at least 55 fighters and a civilian were wounded. Ahmed al-Mesmari, spokesman for Hifter’s forces, said Saturday that 14 troops had been killed since the offensive began.

The fighting has displaced hundreds of people, the U.N. migration agency said. The U.N. mission to Libya has called for a two-hour cease-fire on Sunday in parts of Tripoli to evacuate civilians and wounded people.

The LNA is supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, France and Russia. It answers to the authorities based in eastern Libya, who are at odds with the U.N.-backed government.

___

Magdy reported from Cairo.
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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