ANKARA

The Libyan army on Monday shot down another air defense system of warlord Khalifa Haftar southwest of the capital. 

Libyan military spokesman Col. Mohamed Qanunu said in a statement that the airstrikes were carried out against Haftar militias south of the city of Sirte.

A Russian-made Pantsir-type air defense system supplied by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and an electronic jammer were destroyed in the airstrikes, Qanunu added.

On Sunday, the Libyan army shot down another air defense system and a drone in airstrikes against Haftar militias at Al-Watiya airbase.

On Saturday, the army destroyed the first Pantsir system supplied by the UAE.

Al-Watiya is seen as a key airbase, second only to Mitiga Airport. It was captured in 2014 by Haftar, the leader of illegally armed forces in eastern Libya, who used it as his headquarters for operations.

The airstrike came as a part of operations to cut supplies to Haftar’s militias.

Haftar stepped up attacks on civilians this May, as the Libyan army recently gained an advantage and inflicted severe losses on his militants.

The government has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence. It launched Operation Peace Storm on March 26 to counter attacks on the capital.

Following the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya’s government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led political deal.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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