Libya’s Haftar forces makes push in western Libya

FILE PHOTO: Libyan National Accord Government troops clash with eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar’s troops in Wadi al-Rabie area located at south of Tripoli, Libya on April 10, 2019./Getty Images

Eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar sought on Sunday to open a new front by moving forces towards the city of Misrata, which is allied to the country’s internationally recognized government, officials and residents said.

In another sign that a shaky truce was faltering, Tripoli’s Mitiga further to the west airport was hit by two rockets, which wounded two civilians and damaged the tarmac and buildings, the U.N. mission to Libya said.

It did not blame anyone for the strike, the second within days. The airport has been used to launch Turkish-supplied combat drones to counter unmanned aircraft used by Haftar’s Libyan National Army and provided by the United Arab Emirates.

The increase in fighting comes a week after the UAE, Egypt, Russia, which back Haftar, and Turkey, which backs the government in Tripoli, agreed with western powers at a summit in Berlin to push for a lasting ceasefire and uphold an arms embargo.

Despite the peace efforts, the LNA has now moved from the central city of Sirte towards Misrata. Fighting between the LNA and forces from Misrata was centered on the town of Abugrain, 120 km east of Misrata itself, both sides confirmed.

Two LNA fighters were killed and eight wounded, an LNA source said, adding that his forces later retreated taking some prisoners.

“Battles are raging on all front lines,” LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari told reporters in the eastern city of Benghazi, blaming Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who has been sending troops to defend Tripoli.