Libya's Haftar promises offensive on Sirte, but lacks weapons

Libya's Haftar promises offensive on Sirte, but lacks weapons
General Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Libyan army, has said Libya will launch an assault on IS-held Sirte, once it gets promised weaponry and training from Arab states.
2 min read
25 August, 2015
Libya's IS' affiliate have massacred Egyptian Coptic and Ethiopian workers in the country [AFP]

The military chief of Libya's internationally-recognised government said Monday that a lack of weapons is preventing his forces from launching an offensive on the Islamic State group extremists in the city of Sirte.

However, General Khalifa Haftar said his force has been promised help from the Arab League.

The head of the Libyan armed forces spoke to reporters after meeting with Jordan's army chief. The two discussed the training of Libyan troops by Jordan and medical treatment of Libyan war-wounded in the kingdom, Haftar said.

Libya effectively split into two last year when forces allied to Hafter attempted to drive rival Islamist militias out of Tripoli. 

They were defeated, leaving Libya's internationally-recognised government and elected parliament confined to the eastern cities of Tobruk and Bayda.

The two sides have been negotiating to end months of fighting, the bloodiest since the 2011 overthrow of dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

An IS affiliate has exploited the chaos and started taking hold in Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown, in March. The IS-linked fighters consolidated their hold over Sirte earlier this month after putting down a local rebellion.

Hafter said he has asked for foreign help to try to wrest Sirte from the militants.

"Lack of weapons prevents us from expanding," he told a news conference in Amman. "We have limits because of our limited capabilities."

The government received "promises from the members of the Arab League to provide the required assistance to stage a proper attack" in Sirte, he said.