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US ambassador says Libyan general is going after 'terrorists'

The US ambassador to Libya, Deborah Jones, said she would not “condemn blanketly” the actions of Gen. Khalifa Hifter, whose forces have battled Islamist militias in eastern Libya and stormed the parliament in Tripoli on May 18.
Libyan Justice Minister Salah Marghany (R), U.S. ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones (2nd L) during a signing ceremony of an agreement at the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice Tripoli Libya December 2, 2013. With Libya's army still in the making, Western powers are keen to halt chaos in the key European oil supplier and stop illicit arms spilling across North Africa. Picture taken December 2, 2013.  REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny (LIBYA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX16VPU

WASHINGTON — US Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones said Wednesday that she would not condemn the actions of Gen. Khalifa Hifter, a former officer in Moammar Gadhafi’s army who has declared war on Islamic “terrorists” in Libya and forced the country to call new parliamentary elections for June 25.

Speaking at the Stimson Center in Washington, Jones repeated US State Department assertions that the Barack Obama administration did not support and had no advance knowledge of Hifter’s actions — which included sending forces to kill scores of Islamist fighters in eastern Libya last week and storming Libya’s parliament in Tripoli over the weekend. But she added that “it’s very difficult to step up and condemn” Hifter given that his forces are “going after very specific groups … on our list of terrorists.”

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