Libyan military leader Khalifa Haftar has defied calls for a ceasefire and instead appealed to his Libyan National Army fighters to take inspiration from the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began Monday, to defeat “terrorists” and take back Tripoli.
Maj. Gen. Ahmed Almesmari of the Libyan National Army (LNA) delivered a statement that compared the month-long battle for Tripoli to those glorified in Islamic history, including the conquest of Mecca and the Ramadan War of October 1973.
“Our previous battles against terrorism in Benghazi and Derna did not cease,” he said. “In fact, we became more determined and powerful in this holy month.”
The Government of National Accord, led by Presidential Council head Fayez Al-Sarraj and backed by the United Nations, issued another appeal Monday for Haftar to end the fighting. “There is no military solution to the Libyan crisis,” said the GNA, reiterating again the commitment to a civilian government.
The GNA also said that any calls for a ceasefire, as proposed by the United Nations, must be backed up by the withdrawal of LNA forces.
The battles in Tripoli heated up over the weekend, with a death toll that now stands at 432 people, according to a World Health Organization update on Monday. Some 2.069 people have been injured and more than 50,000 are displaced.
“Every day of violence means more people killed, injured or displaced,” WHO said.
Image: WHO file