Libyan government launches strikes against major Haftar airbase after rejecting ceasefire

Libyan government launches strikes against major Haftar airbase after rejecting ceasefire
Forces loyal to Libya’s internationally-recognised government have launched five airstrikes against the Watiya airbase south of Tripoli, a major hub for the forces of rogue General Khalifa Haftar.
2 min read
01 May, 2020
GNA aircraft struck the Watiya airbase [Getty Archive Image]

Forces loyal to the internationally-recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) launched airstrikes on Friday against a major airbase held by rogue General Khalifa Haftar’s forces south of Tripoli.

The five strikes hit the Watiya airbase in western Libya, which was captured by Haftar’s forces in 2014 and used to launch an air campaign against Tripoli in 2019. The GNA, which has been regaining ground against Haftar after receiving support from Turkey, rejected a Ramadan ceasefire offer by Haftar’s self-styled “Libyan National Army” on Thursday.

Read more: Is Libya on the road to de facto partition?

Haftar has received support for his campaign against the GNA from the UAE and Russia.

In a brief statement posted to Facebook on Friday, GNA military spokesman Mohammed Qununu said, “The Libyan Air Force carried out five airstrikes a short while ago against the Watiya airbase, targeting armed forces and military equipment belonging to Haftar’s terrorist militias”.

Earlier on Friday GNA forces said that they had carried out six airstrikes on a military convoy belonging to Haftar’s forces south of Tripoli.

In a statement released on Thursday, the GNA’s presidential office rejected the “humanitarian” Ramadan ceasefire announced by Haftar, saying that the rogue general “had made a habit of cheating and betrayal”. On Monday, Haftar repudiated a previous peace deal reached with the GNA under UN sponsorship.

However, his forces have sustained heavy losses in the past few days, and this is what is believed to have caused him to offer a new ceasefire.

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