Eastern Libyan forces commander Khalifa Haftar ordered his troops, who are trying to take the capital Tripoli, to chase and destroy withdrawing enemy forces, according to an audio tape published on Sunday.
Haftar has urged his forces to “teach the enemy a greater and bigger lesson than the previous ones” during Ramadan, saying the holy month had not been a reason to halt previous battles in the eastern cities of Benghazi and Derna.
His comments came just hours after the United Nations called for a week-long humanitarian truce
On the tape published by his force’s spokesman, Haftar also said that the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which starts on Monday in Libya, was a month of jihad, or holy war.
Nearly 200 people have been killed and more than 1,000 injured in the most recent wave of fighting in Libya, officials said this weekend.
The offensive to take control of Tripoli launched by Khalifa Haftar, a military commander based in the east of the country, is now in its second month.
There are increasing fears of a bloody stalemate that could claim the lives of many more civilians and fighters.