USA pulls forces from Libya as fighting approaches capital

A military vehicle in Wadi al Rabih south of Tripoli Libya on Friday

The multi-pronged operation, dubbed Burkan Al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage), has already led to the capture of many military vehicles of Haftar's National Libyan Army, military spokesman Mohammed Gununu said.

Eastern Libyan forces reportedly carried out an airstrike on the southern part of Tripoli on Sunday, escalating an operation to take the capital.

Fighters loyal to Hifter clashed with pro-government forces in neighbourhoods south and west of Tripoli, including near the old, now-defunct global airport that Hifter's forces claimed to control.

Hifter's offensive on Tripoli could plunge the oil-rich country into another spasm of violence, possibly the worst since the 2011 civil war that toppled and later killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

In a televised address, Sarraj warned of a "war without a winner".

G7 foreign ministers meeting in the French coastal city of Dinard on Saturday called on Haftar to halt his offensive on Tripoli.

He did not say where US forces will relocate to.

Haftar launched his offensive on Tripoli Thursday while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was in the capital to help organise a planned national reconciliation conference between rival Libyan factions.

A fighter under the United Nations backed government prepares his gun during clashes in southern Tripoli, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.

"I still hope it is possible to avoid a bloody confrontation in and around Tripoli", Guterres tweeted.

He returned during the revolution and he's subsequently become the most powerful military leader in a country rife with militias, allied to a rival government in the east.

Meanwhile, Haftar has declared a no-fly-zone over the western half of Libya while government air power has been striking Haftar's forces, albeit those sorties seem to have done little to slow his forces' advance into Tripoli.

After a pause overnight, fierce fighting flared anew on Sunday morning south of the capital between Haftar´s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) and forces backing the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

Both countries have provided support to Gen Haftar.

In Libya, the US backs a United Nations-recognized government.

The UN Security Council has called on Haftar´s forces to halt their advance, warning it was putting Libya´s shaky stability at further risk.

The latest escalation in the conflict-wracked country comes just days ahead of a UN-backed conference meant to unite Libya's rivals and pave the way for elections.

But UN envoy Ghassan Salame insisted on Saturday the April 14-16 conference would go ahead.

After more than two decades living in the United States, where he was rumoured to be working for the Central Intelligence Agency, in 2011 he returned home to take part in the uprising against Kadhafi.

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