Libyan govt conducts air strikes on Misrata

2014-12-29 09:32
(File, Aris Messinis, AFP)

(File, Aris Messinis, AFP)

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Tripoli - Forces loyal to Libya's recognised government staged air strikes on targets in Misrata on Sunday in the first such attacks on the city allied to an armed group that seized the capital earlier this year, officials and residents said.

The North African country, a major oil producer, has been engulfed in fighting between the two sides, each with its own government and parliament.

The internationally recognised Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni has been forced to run a rump state in the east since a group known as Libya Dawn took control of Tripoli in August, setting up a rival government and parliament.

Mohamed El Hejazi, spokesperson for armed forces loyal to Thinni, said his air force had attacked Misrata's port, an air force academy near the airport and Libya's biggest steel plant, which is located in the western city.

Ismail Shukri, spokesperson for forces allied to Libya Dawn, confirmed that air strikes had taken place but said they caused no damage.

"The airport at Misrata is still working normally. A flight has just taken off," he said.

Misrata, 200km east of Tripoli, is linked to Libya Dawn and home to a major sea port and free trade zone. The city had so far escaped the fighting that has threatened to break up Libya.

The air strikes came two weeks after a force allied to Libya Dawn moved east in an attempt to seize the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil ports.

Since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011, Libya has failed to attain stability. Former rebel brigades who once fought side by side have now turned on each other, aligning themselves with rival political factions in a scramble for control.

Read more on:    abdullah al-thinni  |  libya  |  north africa

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