Fighting for Libyan capital still raging, officials say

Fighting for Libyan capital still raging, officials say
2 min read
28 July, 2019
Tripoli, held by the government, has become a battleground between rival Libyan groups.
Libya has been hit with airstrikes again [Getty]
Libya witnessed renewed airstrikes again this week, as fighting around Tripoli intensified on Friday and Saturday, officials have told AP.

Libyan rebel leader Khalifa Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) were said to have launched airstrikes overnight against an air base in the western city of Misrata.

Eastern Libya based Haftar began an offensive with his militia to capture Tripoli in early April with some foreign backing.

Haftar's militia advanced into the city's southern outskirts, clashing with the number of militias connected with the UN-recognised government based in the capital.

Haftar's forces captured the Al-Naqliyah military camp in the south of Tripoli and now fighting to cut off a major route linking Mistrata to Tripoli.

It comes after weeks of stalemate with both sides digging in and shelling one another in the southern reaches of the capital.

Haftar's forces are backed by Egypt, the UAE and Russia and have captured eastern Libya and now looking to capture the capital Tripoli.

Fighters aligned to the UN-recognised government have managed to hold back the LNA force despite the strong foreign backing of its opponents.

The recent LNA strikes on the Air Force Academy in Misrata came after armed groups allied with Tripoli launched an air attack a day earlier against al-Jufra air base - Haftar's main forward airfield in the Tripoli offensive.

Heavy fighting was underway in Abu Salim district, about 7 kilometres (4 miles) from Tripoli's centre, and in Salah al-Deen, an area that saw previous clashes between rival militias in September.

The LNA's media office said in a statement that over 10 airstrikes had targeted a control room for "Turkish-made drones", along with other targets in Misrata and the western coastal city of Sirte.

A spokesman for the Tripoli-based groups also said al-Jufra air base had been attacked from the air.