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US Pulls Forces Out of Libya, Urges Halt to Military Operations

US Pulls Forces Out of Libya, Urges Halt to Military Operations
Forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed unity government arrive in Tajura, a coastal suburb of the Libyan capital Tripoli, on April 6, from their base in Misrata. (AFP/Getty Images)

Sunday, 07 April 2019 10:44 PM

The United States announced Sunday it had pulled American troops our of Libya that have been supporting  US. Africa Command amid increased unrest in the area.

"U.S. Africa Command remains committed to a secure and stable Libya, which contributes to regional security. U.S. Africa Command is conducting prudent military planning while continuing to assess the security situation," read a statement from U.S. Africa Command Sunday night. "The command is making the personnel adjustments in response to the evolving security situation. U.S. Africa Command will continue to monitor conditions on the ground in Libya, and assess the feasibility for renewed U.S. military presence, as appropriate."

“The security realities on the ground in Libya are growing increasingly complex and unpredictable,” said U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander, U.S. Africa Command. “Even with an adjustment of the force, we will continue to remain agile in support of existing U.S. strategy.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that Washington was "deeply concerned about fighting near Tripoli" and urged talks to end the fighting.

"We have made clear that we oppose the military offensive by Khalifa Haftar's forces and urge the immediate halt to these military operations against the Libyan capital," Pompeo said in urging de-escalation.

Eleven people were killed and 23 wounded in clashes in southern Tripoli, the Health Ministry of the U.N.-backed Libyan government of National Accord said late on Sunday. The ministry gave no details of whether the casualties were civilians or fighters.

Lawless since 2011 when Muammar Gaddafi was toppled by rebels backed by NATO air strikes, Libya has become the transit point for hundreds of thousands of migrants trekking across the Sahara in hopes of crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe.

Haftar, 75, who casts himself as a foe of Islamist extremism but is viewed by opponents as a new dictator in the mold of Gaddafi, enjoys the backing of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which see him as a bulwark against Islamists and have supported him militarily, according to U.N. reports.

Haftar's forces carried out air strikes on southern Tripoli on Sunday and made progress toward the city center, residents said.

The offensive, which began last week, intensifies a power struggle that has fractured the oil and gas producer.

The fighting has taken the United Nations by surprise and undermined plans to find agreement on a road map for elections to resolve the protracted instability in Libya. 

© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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The United States announced Sunday it had pulled American troops our of Libya that have been supporting US. Africa Command amid increased unrest in the area."U.S. Africa Command remains committed to a secure and stable Libya, which contributes to regional security. U.S....
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2019-44-07
Sunday, 07 April 2019 10:44 PM
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