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Fierce Clashes Pit LNA, GNA Forces Eyeing Sabha Airbase, Libya | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Kingdom of Libya flag flies in front of a refinery in Ras Lanuf in this March 8, 2011, file photo. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/ Files

Cairo – Armed militiamen attacked the house of Al-Seddiq Al-Kabeer, Governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) in Tripoli. On the other hand, fierce clashes erupted between the Libyan National Army under the command of General Khalifa Haftar and the internationally-backed Government of National Accord headed by Libya Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

Forces aligned with a U.N.-backed government in Tripoli said on Monday that three of their men had been killed in air raids against a desert air base by rivals allied with eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar.

The armed group broke into Kabeer’s house in Nufiliyeen area in Tripoli in an endeavor to kidnap the governor, security sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. Perpetrators broke and entered the household holding the governor’s family members hostage, as well as appropriating some legal documents.

Although the attack targeted Kabeer, the militiamen failed to kidnap the governor since he was not at the household during the time of the theft and kidnap. No party rose to claim responsibility for the attack targeting the official responsible for regulating Libya’s national currency.

Footage Asharq Al-Awsat looked into writings on the household’s walls demanding the governor’s resignation.

Kabeer was said to be in Malta on Monday when his house came under attack, he attended a Valletta meeting on Friday between the governors of the European Central Banks and the Governors of the North African and Mediterranean Banks, the CBL official website reported.

They discussed during the meeting the experiences of these countries in the role of monetary policy and the framework of financial policies under the current regional and global economic conditions.

CBL employees issued a statement condemning the attacks and saying they was part of a series of systematic jabs seeking to down the national bank and undermine public institutions.

Since 2014, loose and shifting military alliances based in the east and west of Libya have been engaged in a stop-start conflict which the GNA has been unable to resolve.

The oil-producing North African state slipped into turmoil during the 2011 uprising that ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year-old and has been riven by factional strife since then.

The struggle for control around Tamanhent air base 30 km (19 miles) northeast of Sabha risks escalating into a major confrontation between forces officially linked to the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).

Haftar is aligned with an eastern parliament and government that have spurned the GNA since it arrived in the capital Tripoli, in the far west of the country, a year ago.

His forces have been extending their reach along Libya’s central Mediterranean coastline and into the desert regions of Jufra and Sabha, and say they also intend to take control of Tripoli.

After an LNA strike against Tamanhent last week the GNA warned of the risk of civil war and said it was mobilizing forces to repel the attack.

Tamanhent is controlled by a force from Misrata, a militarily powerful western city that has backed the GNA. Air strikes on Monday killed three men stationed there and wounded at least one more, according to Mohamed al-Gasri, a spokesman for the defense ministry in Tripoli.

An eastern military source said there had also been ground clashes around Samnu, about 50 km northeast of Sabha. A medical source in Sabha said three LNA troops had been killed.