On January 18, the Libyan National Army (LNA) announced in an official statement the start of military operation “Desert Fury” against the Sudanese rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the southeastern district of Kufra.
Spokesman for the LNA Brigadier General Ahmed al-Mesmari said that the military operation was launched in response to an attack of the JEM on a border post of the LNA’s 106 Brigade few days ago. Libyan sources reported that six soldiers of the LNA were killed in the attack.
Brig. Gen. al-Mesmari added that the Libyan Air Force conducted several airstrikes on JEM positions in Kufra district and revealed that the aim of operation “Desert Fury” is to push the JEM back into the Sudanese territory.
“Now operation Desert Fury is underway, and we are tacking the gangs [the JEM] in the southeastern part of the country [Libya] until they are eliminated and the sovereignty of the Libyan state is imposed over its entire geographical territory,” al-Mesmari said according to Libyan sources.
Since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown by Libyan rebels and the NATO in 2011, the JEM has expanded its operations inside the Libyan territory and conducted a series of attacks mainly against civilians in Kufra district. However, now the LNA backed by Egypt and the UAE is determined to put an end to this threat and to secure the border of Libya once again.