Traffic at the only operating airport in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, was halted after an airstrike on Sunday. The Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar said that it had targeted a Turkish military drone on the runway.
The LNA announced that its fighter jets have “destroyed” a Turkish UAV during takeoff at Mitiga airport outside Tripoli on Sunday.
Haftar’s information division claimed on Facebook that the drone was delivered to Libya by Ankara to carry out attacks against LNA forces.
Mitiga airport authorities confirmed that the facility was hit by an airstrike, saying that all flights have been put on hold until further notice.
Since early April, the LNA has been trying to take Tripoli from the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), whom Haftar branded “terrorists,” destabilizing the country since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.
The GNA accused Haftar of trying to seize power by force and of splitting the country even further. More than 450 people have already been killed and more than 2,000 injured on both sides during three months of fighting.
Haftar’s spat with Turkey erupted over its support for the GNA and its prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj, with Ankara supplying drones and trucks to Tripoli.
On Friday, the LNA warned that the Turkish military presence in Libya would be considered hostile, promising to attack its planes, ships and personnel.
On Sunday, Ankara said that Haftar’s men were holding six Turkish citizens and threatened that the LNA will become a “legitimate target” for the Turkish military if the six aren’t released immediately.
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