UN-recognised GNA attacks key Haftar airbase in central Libya

Tripoli-based government says it took down munitions depot and hit military transport aircraft at Al Jufra airbase.

    Libya's internationally-recognised government has said it has struck an airbase used as a key staging post by forces loyal to renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar in transporting troops and supplies.

    "The air force struck a gathering of mercenaries at the Al-Jufra base, destroying a hangar for drones belonging to a hostile country," the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) said in a Facebook post late on Friday.

    The GNA said its forces also destroyed a munitions depot and hit an Ilyushin Il-76 military transport aircraft.

    Pro-Haftar television channel, Libya Alhadath, confirmed the base was attacked, but gave no further details.

    Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) said it carried out air attacks against multiple targets in the city of Misrata, from which many of the government's fighters are drawn.

    Since government forces weathered the initial assault by Haftar's forces, the front lines have remained largely static, with both sides resorting to attacks using aircraft supplied by their foreign supporters to span the large distances between the populated centres.

    Turkey and Qatar have been the main supporters of the United Nations-backed government, while Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are backing Haftar.

    Despite repeated appeals by UN mediators, major powers have shown no sign they are ready to enforce an increasingly threadbare arms embargo on the North African country.

    Last week, France, Britain, Egypt, the UAE, Italy and the United States called for an immediate end of hostilities around Tripoli, and warned that "terrorist groups" were attempting to exploit Libya's security vacuum.

    In a rare joint statement, the six countries urged Libya's warring parties to return to a UN-mediated political process aimed at restoring peace. "There can be no military solution in Libya," the statement said.

    Nearly 1,100 people have been killed and more than 5,750 wounded since the Tripoli offensive began, according to the World Health Organization. More than 100,000 civilians have fled their homes.

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    SOURCE: News agencies