Libyan government forces announce shooting down drone of rival army

29 July 2019, Libya, Tripoli: Fighters of Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez Serraj, clash with forces of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar, at the Salah al-Din frontline. Photo: Amru Salahuddien/dpa (Photo by Amru Salahuddien/picture alliance via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Fighters of Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez Serraj, clash with forces of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar, at the Salah al-Din frontline. (Photo by Amru Salahuddien/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Forces of the UN-backed Libyan government on Saturday announced the shooting down of a drone belonging to the rival east-based army near the western city of Misrata.

“Our forces this morning shot down a Wong Loong drone loaded with rockets that the UAE provided to the war criminal Haftar (army commander),” the government forces said in a statement.

“The aircraft was trying to attack targets around Misrata, (some 200 km east of the capital Tripoli),” the statement explained.

Since early April, the government has been engaged in a deadly armed conflict against the army, which is trying to take over the capital Tripoli and overthrow the government.

The fighting so far has killed more than 1,000 people, injured more than 5,700 others, and forced more than 120,000 people to flee their homes, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The army is allied with the eastern-based government, as the North African nation is politically divided between eastern and western governments.

Libya has been struggling to make a democratic transition amid insecurity and chaos ever since the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.