Cairo (AP) — Libyan officers in the funds of Tripoli mentioned Sunday that right away airstrikes hit a vital army base on the city’s outskirts that was lately retaken by Turkey-backed forces.
A spokesman for the Tripoli-centered forces, Col. Mohamed Gnounou, stated the strikes were being carried out by “foreign jets” allied with armed forces commander Khalifa Hifter.
Hifter’s forces are backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, whilst Tripoli is backed by Turkey, Qatar and Italy. Libya has been divided in between these two rival governments considering that 2015 — a person in the east, allied with Hifter, and the U.N.-supported governing administration in Tripoli.
Lots of of these overseas backers are seemingly jockeying for affect in get to regulate Libya’s oil resources, the largest in Africa.
The airstrikes late Saturday on the al-Waitya airbase in the desert southwestern of Tripoli destroyed army gear lately brought in by Turkey, like air-protection devices, in accordance to officers in Tripoli. They spoke on situation of anonymity mainly because they had been not licensed to brief the media.
An formal with Hifter’s forces, Brig. Gen. Khaled al-Mahjoub, explained at minimum nine targets at the foundation were being hit.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said in a assertion that the airstrikes damaged some devices at the foundation, but did not elaborate on what sort of devices.
The Tripoli-allied forces had wrested regulate of the base in May possibly just after launching months of attacks making use of Turkish-equipped drones.
Capturing al-Waitya was a weighty setback for Hifter’s forces, which experienced to retreat in early June from most of the locations captured in their yearlong offensive on the capital.
The Tripoli-dependent forces are now threatening to retake the Mediterranean town of Sirte — birthplace of previous dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was ousted and killed in 2011. Capturing Sirte could let them to gain handle of oil fields and facilities in the south that Hifter had seized.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi warned in excess of the weekend that any attack by the Tripoli forces on Sirte or the inland Jufra air base would total to crossing a “red line.” He said Egypt could intervene militarily to secure its western border.
Affiliated Press author Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul contributed to this report.