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Libyan government says Haftar's forces attacked southern airbase Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Libyan government says Haftar's forces attacked southern airbase

Khalifa Haftar represents one of the biggest challenges to the GNA [AFP]

Date of publication: 5 January, 2017

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Libya's UN-backed unity government said that warplanes under the command of a Khalifa Haftar have attacked an airbase under its control in the country's south.

Libya's UN-backed unity government said that warplanes under the command of a rival general have attacked an airbase under its control in the country's south.

In a statement late Tuesday, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) said "several" government-allied troops were wounded when an aircraft they were travelling in was struck in the attack by forces loyal to Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

Libya has been mired by in-fighting since the 2011 revolution that overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The country was split between two competing governments, while myriad rival militias also looked at carving up influence in the country.

In coastal city of Sirte, the Islamic State group set up a stronghold and threatened other cities in the area.

Then in March, the internationally backed GNA was formed intended to replace the two rival administrations - one in Tripoli, the other in Tobruk.

However, Prime Minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj has not yet been able to secure a vote of confidence in the Tobruk parliament based in in the east. 

Haftar, once an ally of Gaddafi, has allied his forces to authorities in Tobruk. 

In September, Haftar's forces seized control of most of Libya's oil installations.

The military strongman represents the biggest challenge to the authority of the GNA.

Last month, France, Italy, Germany, the United States and Britain renewed their support for the GNA and "condemned any threat of recourse to military force" in Libya.

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