Libya warlord Haftar bombs Mitiga airport near Tripoli

Libya warlord Haftar bombs Mitiga airport near Tripoli
The airport announced that flights have stopped following airstrikes carried out by General Khalifa Haftar's forces.
2 min read
23 July, 2019
During the fighting GNA forces also destroyed military hardware [Getty]
General Khalifa Haftar's forces have launched airstrikes on Mitiga international airport, the only functioning airport in Tripoli, officials said on Monday.

The airport announced on its Facebook page that flights have stopped following the attack, without giving further details.

Mitiga International Airport, located about eight kilometres east of Tripoli's city center, has been targeted several times by strongman Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army, as part of the general's attempt to capture the Libyan capital Tripoli.

On Monday, forces loyal to Libya's UN-recognised government said they fought off a "major" attack on Tripoli led by Haftar that left casualties on both sides.

"Our forces repelled a major attack by Haftar forces on several fronts in southern Tripoli which they had planned and mobilised for days," spokesman  Mustafa al-Mejii told AFP.

He said six fighters loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) were killed and several others wounded.

The fighting left 25 dead or wounded on the other side, he said.

GNA forces carried out seven airstrikes on positions held by Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Amy in Tripoli suburbs, including Ain Zara some 12 kilometres from downtown Tripoli, the spokesman said.

"Within a few hours our forces succeeded in forcing them to retreat, and seized new positions that had been under the control of Haftar's forces," he said.

During the fighting GNA forces also destroyed military hardware, including three tanks, seized others and captured 11 fighters, the spokesman added.

The LNA meanwhile said in a statement on its Facebook page that it had made progress in the combat zone of southern Tripoli, "inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy", without giving details.

Over the weekend the GNA expressed fear that Haftar forces were prepping a new "military escalation" in their months-long push to take Tripoli where the UN-recognised government is based.

Deadly fighting has rocked the capital's outskirts since the LNA launched an offensive to seize the capital.

The United Nations mission in Libya said in a tweet Saturday that it was working "with all local and foreign actors to avoid military escalation and to ensure protection of civilians".

Haftar's campaign to capture Tripoli from pro-GNA forces has left nearly 1,093 people dead, including 106 civilians, and more than 5,750 wounded, according to the UN's World Health Organization.

The fighting has also forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes. 

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