A jet fighter is shown in this May 18 photo taken at the al-Watiya airbase, west of Tripoli, Libya, after it was seized by government-backed troops from forces loyal to a renegade general. (Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

‘Unidentified’ Jets Hit Libyan Airbase Recently Taken by Tripoli Gov’t

Warplanes struck Libya’s al-Watiya airbase overnight between Saturday and Sunday, according to witnesses near the facility to the west of the capital Tripoli. The base had been used by the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar until May, when it was taken back by forces fighting on behalf of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). The Reuters news agency quoted an unnamed LNA “military source” as saying there had indeed been an airstrike on Watiya that was carried out by “unidentified aircraft.” The LNA, based in Benghazi and elsewhere in the eastern part of Libya, is known to have warplanes, although Russia, one of its backers, was found by US military intelligence to have sent jet fighters of its own to the war-torn North African country by way of Syria, where their Russian markings were removed. The LNA took over large swathes of the country starting in April 2019 until its forces became bogged down around the outskirts of Tripoli. It began being pushed back to the east in late spring when Turkey committed troops to assist the GNA.

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