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Haftar Army Claims to Have Destroyed 'Several Dozen' Militant Targets in Tripoli

© AP Photo / Esam Omran Al-FetoriMembers of Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Haftar, get ready before heading out of Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli, in Benghazi, Libya April 13, 2019
Members of Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Haftar, get ready before heading out of Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli, in Benghazi, Libya April 13, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Earlier, Tripoli's civil aviation authority closed and then reopened Libya's only functioning civilian airport amid reports of air attacks in the vicinity of the city.

Libyan National Army (LNA) aviation forces attacked targets in and around Tripoli, destroying dozens of assets belonging to Government of National Accord (GNA) forces, LNA spokesman Ahmed Al-Mismari said at a news press conference in Benghazi on Sunday.

"The army, with the support of aviation, destroyed several dozen targets belonging to militant groups in the vicinity of Tripoli," Al-Mismari said, in a speech streamed online.

The spokesman noted that militias in Tripoli have resorted to storing weapons and ammunition in residential areas, adding that LNA aviation focused on inflicting "limited, pinpoint strikes" to avoid damage to civilian infrastructure or harming residents.

Libyan National Army (LNA) members, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, head out of Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli, in Benghazi, Libya April 7, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Earlier, Tripoli's civilian aviation authority temporarily closed the Mitiga International Airport amid media reports that helicopters equipped with night vision had struck a series of targets in the city. 

LNA commander Khalifa Haftar ordered an offensive to take control of Tripoli from GNA forces in early April, prompting a mobilisation of forces loyal to the GNA. Last week, GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj ordered Haftar's arrest. The LNA, meanwhile, has accused the GNA of allying itself with terrorists.

Libya descended into chaos in 2011, when long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed by rebels backed by NATO air power. The power vacuum prompted competing militias, criminal gangs and terrorist groups including Daesh (ISIS)* to establish control over large areas of the country. The largest competing forces formed two separate governments — the eastern Tobruk-based government, supported by Haftar and the LNA, and the western UN-backed GNA, based in Tripoli.

*A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.

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