On January 4, Major General Wanis Boukhamada, a special forces commander of the Libyan Nation Army (LNA), said in an interview to the Libyan TV that the LNA’s next mission will be the battle for the city of Derna located in northeastern Libya.
Maj. Gen. Boukhamada revealed the LNA special forces will take part in the Derna battle aimed at capturing the city from the Shura Council of Mujahedeen in Derna. The general also called on Derna’s civilians to find a peaceful solution to expel the Derna Mujahedeen from the city before the start of the battle.
“The Special Forces will deploy all of its personnel and equipment in the Derna area to deal with extremists and terrorists in the city… Our people in Derna, if you have a certain way to negotiate with the terrorist group controlling the city and using civilians as human shields, and to reach an agreement with them… so they will withdraw from the city and leave it in peace… We will welcome that,” Maj. Gen. Boukhamada said.
The Shura Council of Mujahedeen in Derna is described as a terrorist group by many countries including Egypt and the UAE, the main backers of the LNA. However, the Shura Council is a close ally of the Libyan Government of National Accord, although, the council includes dozens of members following an ideology close to al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The LNA expected operation in Derna may be backed by the UAE and Egypt. The LNA Marine Special Force already conducted a reconnaissance operation off Derna’s coast on December 31.