We reported earlier how the long-running Libyan proxy war 2.0 just got hotter given now the United States is directly blaming Russia for inflaming the conflict which has seen pro-Haftar forces lay siege to the capital of Tripoli for over the past year. Both Turkey and Russia have recently come under fire for transferring thousands of mercenaries to opposing sides of the war.
On Saturday massive explosions rocked Tripoli’s only functioning international airport after Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) fired “dozens of rockets” on the sprawling complex, reports Al Jazeera.
Images of the attack showed huge fireballs at Mitiga International Airport reaching into the sky, also as jet fuel tanks at the airport were also directly hit, according to a statement from Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC).
At least one civilian airliner belonging to Libya Airlines was also reportedly destroyed, though surprisingly and thankfully no civilians were reported killed or injured.
Over the past years of internecine war fighting has on multiple occasions approached the airport, in some recent cases sending panicked civilians fleeing and abandoning their bags, and having to disembark aircraft.
— Oded Berkowitz (@Oded121351) May 9, 2020
Some sources reported that during Saturday’s attack up to 80 rockets were fired by the LNA.
“Haftar’s forces say that there is a drone launcher in that airport… Turkish drones to target Haftar forces’ locations in the south and many other locations,” an Al Jazeera correspondent said.
The aviation fuel depot at Mitiga Airport was destroyed and a Libyan Airlines plane was damaged in warlord Haftar’s systematic rocket attacks on Saturday pic.twitter.com/pTnxR3soPT
— The Libya Observer (@Lyobserver) May 9, 2020
Haftar’s LNA has alleged that the Turkish Armed Forces inside Libya are using the civilian airport has a major headquarters, also from which to launch drone attacks.
Turkey has been the biggest military backer of Tripoli’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), while the UAE has been Haftar’s single largest supplier of weaponry.