ANKARA

Libya on Wednesday destroyed at least five Russian-made Pantsir-type air defense systems used by the militias loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar in the last 24 hours, the country’s military announced.

The press center for the government-led Volcano of Rage Operation said the defense systems, which were supplied to Haftar’s militias by the United Arab Emirates, had been demolished via artillery and drone strikes.

One Pantsir missile system was demolished by artillery units in the Souq Al-Ahad region of the capital Tripoli, with another three destroyed in the city of Tarhouna and one in the al-Vishka area.

The Libyan army had announced that after capturing the strategic Al-Watiya airbase in the western part of the country from Haftar’s militias, they had captured an air defense system of the same type.

Haftar, the leader of illegal armed forces in eastern Libya, has intensified attacks on civilians since the beginning of 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 Fahri Aksut

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