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Unidentified jets strike Al-Watiya airbase in western Libya - Daily News Egypt

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Unidentified jets strike Al-Watiya airbase in western Libya

Military sources say strike targeted GNA-controlled base where Turkey may establish military presence of its own, says Reuters

Military airplanes struck an airbase in west Libya, on Sunday, that was recently recaptured by the Government of National Accord (GNA) from the the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF), a military source told Reuters.

The strikes were carried out by “unknown aircraft,” the military source said.

A resident of the nearby town of Zintan told Reuters that explosions were heard from the direction of the base.

The GNA’s recapture of the Al-Watiya base in May marked the start of a sudden collapse of the LAAF’s 14-month assault to seize the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Following the attack, the LAAF, led by Commander Khalifa Haftar and which is supported by the UAE, Russia and Egypt, was forced to retreat along the coast to the new frontlines.

Turkish support has been vital to the GNA in turning back the LAAF offensive with advanced air defences and drone strikes, which have targeted Khalifa’s supply lines and troop build-ups.

Turkey’s Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, was in Tripoli for meetings with GNA representatives on Friday and Saturday. Akar swore to undertake all that was necessary to help the GNA in its efforts, a Turkish Ministry of Defence statement said.

Last month, the US said that Russia had sent at least 14 MiG29 and Su-24 warplanes to an LAAF base via Syria, where their Russian air force markings were removed, Reuters reported.

Turkish involvement in Libya has also angered France and Greece, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warning of new sanctions against Ankara.

The GNA and LAAF are now mobilising forces at the new frontlines between the cities of Misrata and Sirte. Egypt has warned that any Turkish-backed effort to take Sirte, which the LAAF captured in January, could lead to the direct intervention of the Egyptian army.

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