AFP

Libya conflict October 18 2019 - 6:59 PM

Haftar forces say strike military sites in Libya's Misrata Tripoli, Oct 18, 2019 (AFP) - Forces of east-Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said Friday they launched air strikes on military sites in Misrata, an area controlled by forces loyal to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord. The city of Misrata is 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of the Libyan capital, and the source of the main armed groups supporting the Tripoli-based GNA in the months-long conflict with Haftar's forces. "Air forces hit facilities in Misrata that militias and terrorist groups are using to stock Turkish anti-aircraft equipment and weapons," pro-Haftar forces spokesman Ahmad al-Mismari said on Facebook. "The strikes triggered a series of major explosions when rockets and munitions were hit," he added. Pro-GNA forces reported downing a drone belonging to pro-Haftar forces over Misrata, publishing photos of a charred device they said was a drone downed after it dropped ordnance on targets in Misrata. Unverified videos circulated on social media that appeared to show a surface-to-air missile hitting an aircraft over Misrata. The GNA is recognised by the United Nations but is contested by a parallel administration in the east, backed by Haftar. Haftar launched an offensive on April 4 with his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army to take the capital, but the conflict's frontlines have moved little. Faced with a standoff, the two sides have turned to sophisticated weaponry in the hope of gaining an advantage in a battle that has killed over 1,000, injured close to 6,000 and forced 120,000 people from their homes, according to UN figures. Experts say that Haftar has procured Chinese-made Wing Loong drones from his main backer, the United Arab Emirates. His rivals turned to Ankara, which is increasingly open about its support for the GNA, to equip themselves with Turkish Bayraktar drones. nd-rb/vl/sw/hkb Facebook

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