TRIPOLI

Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) said Tuesday that its forces conducted airstrikes on Al-Watiya airbase, which is controlled by militias loyal to renegade commander Khalifa Haftar.   

GNA military spokesman Mohammed Kanunu issued a statement on developments at the airbase in western Libya. 

Kanunu said GNA forces conducted five airstrikes targeting pro-Haftar soldiers and military vehicles at the base. 

The airstrikes were carried out in response to attacks by Haftar’s militias on civilians in Tripoli, it added. 

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

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

Since the ouster of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: Haftar in eastern Libya, supported by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the GNA in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and  international recognition. 

*Writing by Burak Dag

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