Libyan Commander Khalifa Haftar urged his forces to advance towards the centre of Tripoli on Thursday evening in what he said would be the “final battle” for the capital.
Haftar, who heads the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), launched an offensive in April to try to take control of Tripoli which stalled on the outskirts of the city.
“Today we announce the decisive battle and the advancement towards the heart of the capital to set it free …advance now our heroes,” Haftar said in a speech broadcast on Al Arabiya TV.
Haftar is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and most recently Russian mercenaries, according to diplomats and Tripoli officials. The LNA denies it has foreign backing.
The GNA said on Thursday that the situation was “under control” and that its troops were holding their positions in the capital’s south.
“We are ready to push back any more mad attempt by the Haftar putsch leader,” said GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha on al-Ahrar television.