TRIPOLI 

The Libyan army has carried out 24 air operations as part of a massive offensive aimed at capturing al-Watiya air base, military sources said Wednesday. 

Muhammed Kununu, the military spokesman for the government, said two grad rocket launch vehicles, various weapons and ammunition vehicles were destroyed in the air operations since yesterday morning.

Libyan government forces launched a military operation early Tuesday to liberate al-Watiya airbase, which is located southwest of the capital Tripoli and controlled by militias loyal to renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, a military source had told Anadolu Agency.

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

The Libyan 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.

As part of Operation Peace Storm, air operations are being periodically carried out against the base.

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

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