Libyan LNA says its forces have seized Turkish cargo ship | Middle East

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The eastern Libyan faction claims the ship entered a no-go zone and its crew did not respond to a call from the Libyan Navy.

East-based Libyan forces intercepted a Jamaican-flagged Turkish vessel heading for the port of Misrata in western Libya, their spokesperson said, in what could be a new flashpoint in the conflict after weeks of truce.

The ship, called Mabruka, “was under investigation for violations of maritime laws and regulations,” Ahmed al-Mismari, spokesperson for the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), said on Monday evening. account on social networks.

He added that the ship entered a no-go zone and its crew did not respond to a call from the Libyan Navy. It was then towed to the port of Ras al-Hilal.

The ship’s crew consisted of nine Turkish nationals, seven Indians and an Azerbaijani sailor, he said.

Turkey is the main foreign donor to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in western Libya, which has been fighting the LNA for years.

The LNA is supported by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Libya has been in turmoil since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and has become a battleground for rival proxy forces.

A Turkish source, who requested anonymity, told Reuters news agency that the ship was carrying drugs and other medical supplies from Egypt to Libya and that it is expected to be released soon.

“The patients who urgently need medicine and blood products on this ship are waiting in Libya. It is clear that there are no weapons or anything, ”the source said. “Such entries are not correct.”

The source added that the LNA may have been emboldened by the European Union’s Operation Irini, a military mission imposing an arms embargo on Libya that angered Ankara when it searched a Turkish ship on last month.

The GNA and ANL signed a ceasefire agreement in October, and the United Nations pushed for a political dialogue aiming for elections next year as a solution to the long-standing conflict in Libya.

But both sides halted before withdrawing forces from the front line, as the truce requires, while an incident in southern Libya on Sunday, in which LNA forces seized a military camp, further tested the agreement.

Al-Mismari on Monday accused Turkey of continuing to supply weapons and fighters to the GNA.

A UN panel of experts cited foreign supporters on both sides as violating an arms embargo on Libya.


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