Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar reiterated on Sunday his vow to confront Turkey in what he described as the “final battle”.
During an inspection of the Tariq bin Ziyad Brigade, he also vowed to defeat the mercenaries Ankara has brought in from Syria.
“The groups have no nation, no family and only seek to make money,” he said, while touring the forces’ preparations for the battle for the strategic city of Sirte.
Addressing the troops, he stated: “When you meet them in battle, they will act like mice as they cannot confront you.”
He added that simple observation of the mercenaries on television reveals that they have no fighting experience.
Haftar further slammed Turkey, saying that throughout its 300 rule of Libya, the people have seen nothing from it but evil, looting and murder.
“Even though the Libyan population is the smallest in the region, North Africa in specific, … we know how to expel them. This is the primary objective as we refuse colonization, which was brought about by the Turks when they handed over (Libya) to the Italians,” he continued.
Haftar added that all that remains is “one battle between us and the invaders. We will teach them and observers from afar a lesson.”
Meanwhile, a dispute erupted between Ankara and Rome over an Italian plane’s landing in the western city of Misrata.
The Italian foreign affairs parliamentary committee demanded clarifications from the Italian government after Turkish forces barred an Italian jet from landing in the city. The aircraft was transporting some 40 Italian military personnel.
Sources from the LNA said the incident revealed the extent of Turkey’ military control over Misrata. It accused it of turning the city into a logistic base for its military operations and the management of the GNA and mercenary forces ahead of the battle for Sirte.
Italy has deployed troops to Misrata under the excuse of securing a military hospital it set up to treat wounded members of the GNA forces. The LNA has repeatedly called on Rome to withdraw the troops, accusing it of supporting extremists.