US says Russia sent more equipment to Libyan front lines

Members of the self-proclaimed eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) special forces gather in the city of Benghazi, on their way to reportedly back up fellow LNA fighters on the frontline west of the city of Sirte, facing forces loyal to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), on June 18, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 24 July 2020

US says Russia sent more equipment to Libyan front lines

  • The US's Africa Command said there was mounting evidence from satellite pictures of Moscow’s military cargo planes, including IL-6s, bringing supplies to fighters from the Russian Wagner Group
  • Both Russia and its LNA ally have denied previous US military statements that Moscow has sent fighter jets to back Wagner forces there

TUNIS: Russia appears to be sending more military equipment to its mercenaries in Libya, including the flashpoint city of Sirte, in breach of an arms embargo, the US military said on Friday.
Its Africa Command said there was mounting evidence from satellite pictures of Moscow’s military cargo planes, including IL-6s, bringing supplies to fighters from the Russian Wagner Group.
Both sides have been mobilizing forces around Sirte where any major new escalation could risk drawing major regional powers further into Libya’s messy conflict.
The Tripoli-based, internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) is backed by Turkey. The eastern-based forces of Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) are backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
“The type and volume of equipment demonstrate an intent toward sustained offensive combat action capabilities,” the Africa Command said in a statement posted on its website.
Both Russia and its LNA ally have denied previous US military statements that Moscow has sent fighter jets to back Wagner forces there.
The GNA earlier this year pushed the LNA from most territory it held in northwest Libya, including in Tripoli, destroying several Russian air defense systems.
However, the LNA stopped retreating at the central coastal city of Sirte, which it took from the GNA in January, and the front line has solidified there.


Gulf countries to vaccinate those vulnerable to COVID-19 infections  

Updated 29 October 2020

Gulf countries to vaccinate those vulnerable to COVID-19 infections  

  • Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court has announced that the families of those who died from COVID-19 will receive the coronavirus vaccine as a priority
  • Omani authorities announced that over one million doses of coronavirus vaccine had been ordered

DUBAI: Gulf countries have begun to implement plans for the vaccinations of those at most at risk of COVID-19 infections and those who were bereaved. 
The Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court has announced that the families of those who died from COVID-19 will receive the coronavirus vaccine as a priority. 
The campaign was launched in cooperation with the Department of Health-Abu Dhabi to protect the health of families around the country, Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoon Al-Nahyan, Executive Director of the Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court said on Wednesday.  
Since the start of the pandemic, the Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office has maintained communication with the families of those who lost their lives to the virus to help them handle its consequences, state news agency Wam reported. 
Kuwait has also announced that the elderly, patients with chronic disease, front line medics and providers of basic services will be vaccinated against COVID-19 once shipments arrive.  
The Kuwaiti health minister, Basel Al-Sabah, said these measures aimed to curtail coronavirus complications, infections and hospitalizations. 
Meanwhile, Omani authorities announced that over one million doses of coronavirus vaccine had been ordered, which the health ministry aims to use before the end of the year.
A second batch of 1.8 million has also been ordered, according to the state news agency ONA.
“We hope to vaccinate about 60 percent of citizens and residents so that we could attain total immunity in the community,” said the Minister of Health, Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Saeedi. 
The minister, who is a member of the Supreme Committee tasked with tackling developments resulting from coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, has said the Sultanate seeks to obtain COVID-19 vaccine from any globally accredited institution.