Published: Fri, April 27, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Libyan army commander "in good health" after medical treatment overseas

Libyan army commander

Khalifa Haftar, the military commander who dominates eastern Libya, will return to Benghazi on Thursday, a spokesman for his forces said, after he received medical treatment in Paris.

News of his return was confirmed in a report by Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday, with LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari tweeting a message to the Libyan people on Wednesday, saying: "Tomorrow (today) will be a very great day in Libya's history".

Haftar, 75, smiled and joked as he greeted a delegation of senior officials after stepping off a late afternoon flight from Cairo.

Haftar, 75, has always been seen as a likely contender for national power, and reports about his health sparked a flurry of speculation inside Libya.

"I won't respond to those promoting rumours about my health, and you are not responsible for them".

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A former commander under Gaddafi who later turned against him, Haftar took full control of the eastern part of the country a year ago.

Last summer, Hafter announced the "total liberation" of Benghazi, after a three-year campaign to seize the city from jihadists who had made it a stronghold following the revolution.

They control most of eastern Libya, including the majority of its oil fields and ports, as well as parts of the south.

Haftar supports a parliament based in the east of the country, while a UN-backed unity government in the capital Tripoli has struggled to assert its authority nationwide.

He is accused by his rivals of wanting to establish a new military dictatorship in Libya.

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