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Libyan self-styled army pushes to take key town near Tripoli

August 27, 2019
FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2017 file photo, Libyan militia commander General Khalifa Hifter meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia. Libyan officials said Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, that fighting around Tripoli has resumed following a two-day truce observed during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. The officials said that the self-styled Libyan National Army led by commander Khalifa Hifter carried out airstrikes overnight on the southern outskirts of Tripoli. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 14, 2017 file photo, Libyan militia commander General Khalifa Hifter meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia. Libyan officials said Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, that fighting around Tripoli has resumed following a two-day truce observed during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. The officials said that the self-styled Libyan National Army led by commander Khalifa Hifter carried out airstrikes overnight on the southern outskirts of Tripoli. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

CAIRO (AP) — The self-styled Libyan National Army says it has been advancing to retake a strategic town near Tripoli from militias allied with a U.N.-supported but weak government based in the country’s capital.

The force, led by Khalifa Hifter, says it advanced to wrest control of Gharyan late on Monday, capturing areas adjunct to the town. Gharyan is located around 100 kilometers, or 62 miles from the capital.

The Tripoli militias had pushed Hifter’s forces from Gharyan in June, cutting off their key supply route.

Hifter’s forces launched an offensive in April to take Tripoli and the months-long fighting has killed hundreds and displaced thousands of people.

The fighting threatens to plunge Libya into another bout of violence on the scale of the 2011 conflict that ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

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