High alert in Tripoli after militia leader orders troop advance.

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Khalifa-Haftar-(File-Abdullah-Doma-AFP)

Reports from Libya says the  internationally-backed government is deploying forces in and around the capital Tripoli following the order by an army commander Khalifa Haftar on Thursday for his eastern military forces to advance on the city.

The UN Security Council has called for an emergency meeting this Friday to discuss the escalation.

Mr. Haftar, who commands the Libya National Army (LNA) from its eastern base of Benghazi, earlier on Thursday, took over the town of Gharyan, a town 100km south of the capital, Tripoli, signifying an escalation in the years-long power struggle in Libya.

He urged his forces to enter the city peacefully and only raise their weapons if confronted adding that they should not to open fire on any civilians or those who are unarmed.

The report added that some of Haftar’s troops were pushed back from a security barrier by a militia in Zawiya less than 30 kilometers from the capital.

The Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, has said that Haftar is making his move at an unprecedented time of calm.

The oil-rich country, which has been in turmoil since the NATO-backed removal of its long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, has at least two rival administrations: the internationally recognised government based in Tripoli, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj; and another in the eastern city of Tobruk, which is allied with General Haftar.

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