Libyan officials in the capital of Tripoli said Sunday that overnight airstrikes hit a key military base on the city’s outskirts that was recently retaken by Turkey-backed forces.
A spokesman for the Tripoli-based forces, Col. Mohamed Gnounou, said the strikes were carried out by “foreign jets” allied with military commander Khalifa Haftar.
Haftar’s forces are backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, while Tripoli is backed by Turkey, Qatar and Italy. Libya has been divided between these two rival governments since 2015 — one in the east, allied with Haftar, and the U.N.-supported government in Tripoli.
Many of these foreign backers are apparently jockeying for influence in order to control Libya’s oil resources, the largest in Africa.
The airstrikes late Saturday on the al-Waitya airbase in the desert southwestern of Tripoli destroyed military equipment recently brought in by Turkey, including air-defence systems, according to officials in Tripoli. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief the media.
An official with Haftar’s forces, Brig. Gen. Khaled al-Mahjoub, said at least nine targets at the base were hit.