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    Tripoli Panorama

    Haftar's Forces Start Air Operation Over Tripoli - Libyan Military Source

    CC BY 2.0 / Bryn Jones / Tripoli Panorama
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    The situation in Libya has been tense since 4 April, when the Libyan National Army, led by Khalifa Haftar, started an offensive to rid Tripoli of militants. On their way to Tripoli, the LNA captured a number of settlements, while the GNA's prime minister ordered the troops to use force if necessary.

    The Libyan National Army started on Sunday the aerial part of the military operation in the sky over the Libyan capital of Tripoli, a high-ranking Libyan military source told Sputnik.

    "The LNA warplanes began this morning an air part of the operation in the airspace over Tripoli. The blows will target the positions of armed groups and clusters of their hardware in Tripoli," the source said.

    Local sources confirmed to Sputnik that military planes were flying intensively in the skies over Tripoli, coming from the LNA-controlled settlement of Wadi Ar-Rabi.

    Shortly before that, Al-Arabia reported that the air force of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) launched a series of attacks on the positions of the Libyan National Army (LNA) situated in Tripoli International Airport on Sunday. Prior to that, reacting to the reported GNA strikes, the LNA announced the establishment of a no-fly zone over the western part of the country.

    "The military aircraft of the Government of National Accord carried out airstrikes this morning [April 7] targeting a military base… in the area of the old Tripoli International Airport following the LNA's approach to the capital," a high-ranking Libyan military source confirmed to Sputnik.

    The Haftar-led units seized Tripoli International Airport on April 6 and established full control over the strategic site, which has not been operating since 2014.

    READ MORE: Tripoli Forces Retake Former International Airport — Reports

    In turn, Libyan government forces have announced the start of a 'counteroffensive' to defend Tripoli, according to media reports.

    Lately, the PM of the Tripoli-based UN-backed Government of National Accord, Fayez Sarraj, accused Khalifa Haftar of violating political deals concluded under the auspices of the UN. The accusations were made after Haftar reportedly refused to meet with Sarraj in Geneva given that clashes in Libya have halted.

    READ MORE: Libyan GNA Chief Agrees to Meet With LNA's Haftar Who Rejects Option — Reports

    Control over Libya remains divided following years of conflict after the NATO-supported rebellion which hit the country, resulting in the murder of the ex-head of state, Muammar Gaddafi. Since then, there has been no single central government in Libya despite talks that both sides have recently held. The Tobruk-based parliament, elected in 2014 and backed by the LNA, governs the east of Libya, while the GNA, established in 2015, controls Libya's western parts from Tripoli.

    airstrike, Libyan National Army (LNA), Libyan Government of National Accord, Tripoli, Libya
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