Eastern Libyan forces attack Tripoli airport for second night

Renegade commander’s Libyan National Army attacks military wing of Tripoli’s airport, targeting a ‘Turkish plane’.

Members of Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Haftar, get ready before heading out of Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli, in Benghazi
Haftar's LNA launched an offensive in early April to take the capital from the internationally recognised government [Esam Omran al-Fetori/Reuters]

Eastern Libyan forces launched air strikes for a second night on a military base housed within Tripoli’s airport as fighting for the capital continues.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) of renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, which controls eastern Libya, has tried to seize Tripoli from the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in a two-month offensive, but has failed to breach defences in the southern suburbs.

Civilian air traffic from Tripoli’s Mitiga airport has continued despite the war.

Late on Thursday, the LNA attacked the military section of the airport, targeting a “Turkish plane”, it said in a statement. No further explanation was available.

The LNA, supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, accuses Turkey of backing the government in Tripoli and its forces.

The eastern army reported a similar attack the previous night, but air traffic was not affected.

Thwarted advance

The LNA began the offensive in early April to take the capital from fighters loyal to the GNA’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

But military advances have been stymied for weeks in southern Tripoli.

Haftar justified the offensive last month by saying he was fighting against “private militias and extremist groups” who he said were gaining influence under al-Sarraj.

More than 75,000 people have been driven from their homes and 510 have been killed since the offensive began, according to the World Health Organization.

About 2,400 people have also been wounded, while 100,000 people – including migrants and refugees – are feared trapped by the clashes raging on the outskirts of Tripoli.

The conflict is part of the chaos that has continued in Libya since the toppling of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies