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Renegade Libyan General Khalifa Haftar was responsible for the airstrikes in Tripoli on Monday (August 18th), according to one of his aides.
“The airstrikes that targeted Misrata militias in Tripoli on Sunday (August 17th) and Monday (August 18th) morning were launched by the Libyan army as part of Gen. Haftar’s campaign against the terrorists,” said General Sagr al-Jerushi, who heads up Haftar’s air wing.
Warplanes also struck Ansar al-Sharia positions in Benghazi.
A statement issued by the general command of Haftar’s Libyan national army said they targeted “Libya Dawn” militias, which they described as “aggressors that target our people in Tripoli and its suburbs”.
“Libyan air falcons on board long-range Sukhoi-22 bombers that were re-entered into service launched precision and intensive airstrikes on militia positions,” the statement added.
According to the political aisor of Haftar’s “Operation Dignity”, Mohamed Buisier, “the planes took off from the farthest point in eastern Libya to the farthest point in its west, hitting only the sources of fire of Libya Dawn without harming civilians or attacking buildings,”
“Escalation by the militias in Tripoli will be met with escalation from our side until we restore security and stability to the country,” Buisier told Sky News.
Tripoli has for weeks been witnessing fierce fighting between armed militias trying to control the capital’s airport, which has been closed for more than one month. The fighting reflects the chaos since the war in 2011.
Meanwhile, the interim Libyan government opened an investigation into the identity of the warplanes and said it has instructed the chief of staff and intelligence agency to provide information on the incident.
“We heard the noise of several blasts at night, and before that, we heard planes,” said Nidhal al- Mahdoui, an engineer from Tripoli. “We were sure that these were warplanes shelling the Misrata militias’ positions in Tripoli. After that, a group of young people and I went out to express our happiness over the return of NATO to protect civilians against these gangs.”
However, both France and the United States denied involvement in the air raids.
In his turn, Wahid al-Senussi, 56, said: “Very violent clashes involving light and medium weapons are under way, and rockets and RPGs are falling in different areas of Benghazi suburbs. The army is engaged in fierce battles in the eastern part of Sidi Faraj and Bouatini.”
“We’ll see the armed forces on the ground very soon,” Khaled al-Farjani, 43, said optimistically. “The world will be surprised that these forces came from Libya they will be the pride of all Libyans because they are being prepared using the most aanced military methods.”
Source : Magharebia