CAIRO, (Sputnik) – The Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by Khalifa Haftar, has started an operation to liberate the country’s eastern city of Derna from the al-Qaeda terrorist organization (outlawed in Russia), the army’s spokesman Ahmed Mismari said on Thursday.
“The battle for Derna has begun,” Mismari told a press briefing in Benghazi.
The spokesman added that the LNA would be pushing terrorists from the city to save its infrastructure and ensure the security of its residents.
“We do not want any damage to the city and its residents. We do not want the city’s residents to leave Derna either. If this happens, terrorists will remain there [in the city], a war will begin and most of the infrastructure will be destroyed. We have to … carry out the battle outside the city and force terrorists to leave it,” Mismari stressed.
In the last four years, the coastal city has become a safe haven for various terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group (also banned in Russia), which was forced out of the city in April 2016.