HOW Turkish military HQ in Libya engulfed in flames after alleged Libyan Army attack, at least six killed (+VIDEO )

Several fires erupted at Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli, Libya after its jet fuel tank farm was “attacked”, Libya’s National Oil Corporation said on Facebook. The company provided no further details on the attack. According to the corporation, a firefighter crew has arrived at the scene to contain the blazes.

Al Jazeera earlier reported that the airport had come under a rocket attack that hit a civilian plane, which included as many as 80 rocket strikes.

The incident comes following a spate of attacks in the Libyan capital on Thursday, which was blamed on the Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. The LNA has denied any involvement in the attacks.

But according to Anadolu news agency reports, citing the interior ministry,  at least six civilians were killed in rocket attacks by warlord Khalifa Haftar's militia on the Mitiga International Airport in the capital Tripoli, the Libyan government said on Saturday.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that a total of six people were killed and many others injured due to the rocket attacks. The statement added that two passenger planes were heavily damaged, while a cargo plane and a passenger plane belonging to a private company were burned.

ليبيا الخبر


قصف قوات حفتر للطائرات وخزانات الوقود ومرافق مطار معيتيقة الدولي.  (Haftar forces bombed aircraft, fuel tanks, and facilities at the Maitika International Airport.)

In an earlier statement, the government-led Operation Volcano of Rage said Haftar's forces fired several rounds of rockets at residential neighborhoods in the vicinity of Mitiga airport.

Saturday's attacks came hours after the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned the indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Tripoli, saying the attacks "may amount to war crimes."

Haftar LNA intensified attacks on Tripoli since the beginning of May as the Libyan government army recently gained the advantage and inflicted severe losses on his militants.

The 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.

In late April, the Haftar-led force announced it would cease hostilities during the holy month of Ramadan. Libya has been torn apart between two rival governments, an elected parliament in the country’s east, supported by the LNA, and the GNA in the country’s west, for years since the assassination of the country’s long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The Tripoli's GNA rejected Haftar's unilateral call for a ceasefire during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan for fear he would use the truce as an opportunity to regroup. Last month, the United Nations, the European Union and several countries called on Libya's warring sides to lay down their arms during Ramadan.

Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli, Libya has been forced to suspend its activities several times over the past several months due to shelling amid a confrontation between warring factions in the conflict-torn nation. The airport itself serves as the headquarters for the Turkish Armed Forces inside Libya.

Late on Thursday, Turkey and Italy said the area around their embassies in Tripoli was shelled, leading the European Union to condemn the incident, which it said was "attributal to Haftar's forces".

LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari denied the LNA had shelled the area. He has not yet commented on Saturday's shelling at Mitiga.

Turkey supports the GNA and has signed a military cooperation agreement with it to help the fight against Haftar's LNA, which is backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and other countries.


(With Sputnik, Aljazeera, AA)

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