Libya’s eastern-based army kills 5 gov’t soldiers

21 August 2019, Libya, Tripoli: A picture made available on 22 August 2019 shows fighters of Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez Serraj, firing their weapons during clashes with forces of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar, at Al-Yarmouk frontline. Photo: Amru Salahuddien/dpa (Photo by Amru Salahuddien/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Fighters of the UN-backed government forces of Libya prepare to progress further after the eastern-based army retreated in south of Tripoli, Libya, on Nov. 4, 2019. The UN-backed government forces of Libya on Monday announced making progress against the rival eastern-based army in south of the capital Tripoli, said a statement by the UN-backed government on its official Facebook page. (Photo by Hamza Turkia/Xinhua)

Five soldiers from UN-backed government forces on Friday were killed in airstrikes launched by Libya’s eastern-based army in the city of Sirte, some 450 km east of the capital Tripoli.

“Five soldiers were killed by Haftar’s air force as the troops were pursuing remnants of Islamic State terrorists in southern Sirte,” said Taha Hadid, spokesman of Sirte’s Protection and Security Force, the security service of the Sirte government.

The army, led by Khalifa Haftar, has been leading a military campaign in and around Tripoli since early April, attempting to take over the city.

Fighting has so far left thousands dead or injured, with more than 120,000 civilians displaced.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya said it regrets the recent military escalation in the country, while stressing the importance of finding a political solution to the Libyan crisis.