World, Africa

Libyan govt forces retake Tripoli Airport from Haftar

Al-Bayda-based commander Khalifa Haftar last week launched military campaign to capture capital

Walid Abdullah   | 08.04.2019
Libyan govt forces retake Tripoli Airport from Haftar

TRIPOLI

Forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) on Monday recaptured the Tripoli International Airport from military commander Khalifa Haftar, according to a local military source.

Haftar is affiliated with a rival government based in Libya’s eastern city of Al-Bayda.

“GNA brigades managed to reassume control of the airport after it was briefly seized by pro-Haftar forces,” a GNA military source told Anadolu Agency on Monday on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

According to Libya's Al-Ahrar television channel, the GNA’s air force, meanwhile, has continued to target the Al-Watiyah Airbase (located 130 kilometers southwest of Tripoli), which pro-Haftar forces have been using to stage attacks on forces loyal to the Tripoli government. 

Haftar’s self-styled “Libyan National Army” has yet to comment on the source’s assertions.

Last Thursday, Haftar announced the launch of a military campaign -- dubbed “Flood of Dignity” -- aimed at capturing Tripoli from the UN-backed government. 

One day later, he announced that his forces had taken the international airport located on the capital’s outskirts.

At a subsequent press conference, Haftar spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari vowed that the campaign would not stop “until it achieves its objectives”. 

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of President Muammar Gaddafi after four decades in power.

Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power: one in the eastern city of Al-Bayda, with which Haftar is associated, and another in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN’s support.

* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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