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Anti-Haftar forces launch counter-attack near Tripoli

Anti-Haftar forces launch counter-attack near Tripoli

Mitiga airport was closed earlier in the day when residents reported an air strike on the Libyan capital.

Gnounou said strikes took place south of Gharian, 100 kilometres (60 miles) southwest of the capital, and against an airbase at Al-Wotya, 50 kilometres further southwest.

Several airstrikes and explosions shook Tripoli overnight in an escalation of an assault on the Libyan capital by the warlord Khalifa Haftar.

The military commander backs a rival administration based in eastern Libya that refuses to recognise the authority of the Tripoli government. Ahmad Al-Mesmari, a spokesman for Haftar's self styled Libyan National Army (LNA), said late Saturday: "We have won the political battle and we have convinced the world that the armed forces are fighting terrorism".

If a drone strike was confirmed this would point to more sophisticated warfare.

It was not clear whether an aircraft or unmanned drone was behind the strike, which triggered heavy anti aircraft fire.

Witnesses had reported drone strikes in the past days but there has been no confirmation.




Mitiga, which is located in eastern Tripoli, is the only functioning airport in the city after Tripoli airport was destroyed in 2014. The ageing Soviet and Russian fighter jets used by both sides are not equipped to carry out night-time strikes.

The UN agency wrote on Twitter on Sunday that at least 227 people have been killed and more than 1 125 injured in the violence. He has led previous campaigns against Islamic militants and other rivals in eastern Libya, and has received support from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia and France.

Speaking to the United Kingdom newspaper, Anas El Gomati, director of the Sadeq Institute, a Libyan think tank, said: "The air war in Tripoli has officially entered a unsafe new phase and has the become an attack by a foreign invading power: the UAE".

Since launching his push, which many see as a power grab for Tripoli, Hifter's forces have captured the districts of Gharyan and Qasr Bani Ghashi, r along with several smaller towns.

The disclosure of the call and a US statement that it "recognized Field Marshal Haftar's significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources" has boosted the commander's supporters and enraged his opponents.

The UN Security Council has been considering a British-drafted resolution that would demand a ceasefire and urge all nations with influence over the warring parties to ensure compliance.

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