The Libyan Army does not target cities and civilians in its operations against militias loyal to renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, Libya’s government said Friday.

The government’s aim with the operations is to ensure peace and security in all cities and regions by eliminating threats, the government said in its official social media account.

Operations target only hostile forces and their mercenaries, it added.

The government also reiterated its determination to continue its operations in many regions, especially against Al-Watiya airbase.

Al-Watiya, located southwest of the capital Tripoli, is regarded as a key airbase in the country and is second only to Mitiga International 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 al-Watiya airbase.

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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