East Libyan forces launch air strike against rivals in central desert

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Forces loyal to Libya’s Eastern government stated that they had carried out an air strike against opponents in the central Jufra region on Monday.

According to the Eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman, Ahmed al-Mismari, the strike had targeted a camp used by the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB), a force that the LNA has previously clashed with.

The LNA and the BDB are on opposite sides of a conflict in which two loose and shifting alliances have battled for power in Libya since 2014, aligning themselves with rival governments in Tripoli and the east.

The LNA, led by Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar has in the recent months made military gains in Benghazi and Libya’s Oil Crescent region, provoking several attempted counter-attacks from  his rivals.

“This was a pre-emptive strike against militias that are mobilising for an attack against the Libyan army,” Mismari said. There was no immediate comment from the BDB.

The LNA had this month, carried out air strikes to repel what it said was an attempt to recapture Oil Crescent ports it took control of in September. Shortly afterwards, it launched strikes against opponents at a military base in Jufra.

The strikes have raised fears of a new escalation in Libya’s conflict. So far, A UN-backed government in Tripoli has failed to reconcile Libya’s warring factions.

Images from the oasis town of Houn posted on local media sites showed thick smoke rising close to residential buildings but no casualties were reported.

(Courtesy:Reuters)

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