Haftar forces free 19 from Daesh captivity following clashes

A member of the Libyan military police looks through binoculars as they fight alongside troops loyal to Khalifa Haftar, a retired general and former chief of staff for Moamer Kadhafi, in clashes with Daesh in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. (AFP file photo)
Updated 02 January 2019
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Haftar forces free 19 from Daesh captivity following clashes

  • Daesh has been active in Libya in the turmoil since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011

BENGHAZI: The self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) says its forces have freed nearly 20 people who were kidnapped by Daesh militants during attacks in central Libya.
Spokesman Ahmed Al-Mesmari said on Tuesday that clashes erupted late Monday between LNA forces, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter, and Daesh militants in Ghadwua village, 70 kilometers from the southern city of Sabha.
A military official said at least 21 people were kidnapped from the towns of Al-Fuqaha and Tazerbu last month; two of them managed to flee and reported the locations of the others. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media.
He said Daesh militants were holding the remaining 19 people in containers on farmland and that clashes killed a soldier.
Daesh has been active in Libya in the turmoil since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The group took control of the coastal city of Sirte in 2015 but lost it late in 2016 to local forces backed by US airstrikes.

Security measures
Interior Minister in the Libyan Government of National Accord Fathi Bashaagha acknowledged on Sunday financial corruption in his ministry in Tripoli, while also calling for merging the militias that have been in the capital with the security forces, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
The Interior Ministry, he said, is the “backbone of the state, which is why we would bring together all the armed groups under the ministry’s wing given the circumstances the country is enduring.”
The minister also said that he was preparing a plan to impose security in Tripoli and its suburbs and which he hopes to apply for the first half of 2019.


Damaged Japanese tanker arrives at UAE anchorage

Updated 18 min 22 sec ago
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Damaged Japanese tanker arrives at UAE anchorage

  • “Kokuka Courageous has arrived safely at the designated anchorage at Sharjah,” according to a statement
  • The other ship, the Front Altair, has left Iran’s territorial waters, multiple sources said Saturday

DUBAI: A Japanese tanker, attacked in the Gulf in an incident that sparked a new standoff between Washington and Tehran, “arrived safely” Sunday at an anchorage off the UAE, its management said.
The Kokuka Courageous was carrying highly flammable methanol through the Gulf of Oman on Thursday when it and the Norwegian-operated Front Altair were rocked by explosions.
The US and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of responsibility.
“Kokuka Courageous has arrived safely at the designated anchorage at Sharjah,” an emirate neighboring Dubai, the vessel’s Singapore-based BSM Ship Management said in a statement Sunday.
The crew, who remained on board, were “safe and well,” it said, adding that a damage assessment and preparations for transferring the ship’s cargo would start “once the port authorities have completed their standard security checks and formalities.”
BSM Ship Management had said earlier Kokuka Courageous was heading toward an anchorage on the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates, facing the Gulf of Oman.
The other ship, the Front Altair, has left Iran’s territorial waters, multiple sources said Saturday.
It was “heading toward the Fujairah-Khor Fakkan area in the United Arab Emirates,” the ports chief of Iran’s southern province of Hormozgan told the semi-official news agency ISNA.
A spokeswoman for Frontline Management, the Norwegian company which owns the ship, said “all 23 crew members of the tanker departed Iran” and flew to Dubai on Saturday.
The US military on Friday released grainy footage it said showed an Iranian patrol boat removing an “unexploded limpet mine” from the Japanese vessel.
Tehran has vehemently denied any involvement.
Iran has repeatedly warned in the past that it could block the strategic Hormuz Strait in a relatively low-tech, high-impact countermeasure to any attack by the United States.
Doing so would disrupt oil tankers traveling out of the Gulf region to the Indian Ocean and global export routes.