News ID: 241037
Published: 0459 GMT April 06, 2019

Libya’s Haftar forces say they have been targeted by airstrike south of Tripoli

Libya’s Haftar forces say they have been targeted by airstrike south of Tripoli

Forces of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Libya’s strongman Khalifa Haftar, say they have been targeted by an airstrike south of Tripoli, as they are pushing forward to seize the capital, where the internationally-recognized government is based.

The North African country has been divided between two rival governments, the House of Representatives, based in the eastern city of Tobruk, and the internationally-recognized government of Fayez al-Sarraj, or the Tripoli-based unity Government of National Accord (GNA). Haftar is presumably loyal to the one in the east, Presstv Reported.

The eastern forces, led by Haftar, have launched an offensive to capture the capital and oust the GNA, an internationally-condemned move that would bring the conflict to a potentially dangerous new phase and a possible civil war.

The LNA media office said in a statement on Saturday that a military plane, reportedly taken off from the city of Misrata, conducted the airstrike “in the al-Aziziya region,” some 50 kilometers south of Tripoli. Forces in Misrata are mostly loyal to the GNA.

“We strongly condemn the air raid,” said the statement.

Meanwhile, forces loyal to the GNA arrived in Tajura, a coastal suburb of Tripoli, from their base in Misrata.

On Thursday, the eastern forces fully seized Gharyan town, located about 100 kilometers south of Tripoli, and on Friday they captured the former Tripoli International Airport.

Earlier Friday, forces allied to the GNA had pushed back Haftar's forces from a key checkpoint less than 30 kilometers from Tripoli.

The United Nations has already voiced its deep concern regarding the outcome of the soaring conflicts for the African nation, strongly urging Haftar to halt his forces’ advancement toward the capital.

UN insists to hold national conference

Additionally on Saturday, the UN said that it was determined to hold Libya’s national conference on possible elections on time despite the current surge of fighting.

The world body aims to hold a conference in the southwestern town of Ghadames on April 14-16 to weigh elections as a way out of Libya’s factional anarchy.

“We know that holding the conference in this difficult time of escalation and fighting is a difficult matter. But we are determined to hold it on time unless compelling circumstances force us not to,” said Ghassan Salame, a senior UN envoy, in a press conference in Tripoli.

Furthermore, the G7 foreign ministers on Saturday warned Haftar to desist from his thrust on the capital, threatening the GNA there, or face possible international action.

Libya has been the scene of increasing violence since 2011, when former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power after an uprising and a NATO military intervention.

His ouster created a huge power vacuum, leading to chaos and the emergence of numerous militant outfits, including the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.



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