By Libya Herald staff.
21 March 2015:
Aircraft belonging to the Libya National Army (LNA) carried out airstrikes in Tripoli and against Zuwara . . .[restrict]airport today following what it says was a tactical retreat yesterday even from territory occupied earlier in the day. A Libya Dawn aircraft later hit Zintan airport in a reprisal attack.
The first strikes, in the morning, targeted Naqliya military camp on the Airport Road near Tripoli International Airport as well as Mitiga Airport. No injuries or damage were reported at the camp, formerly used by Zintani forces and now home to Libya Shield fighters from Misrata, while the attack on Mitiga appears to have hit nothing at all within the airport.
Contrary to reports that the LNA also attacked Tripoli International Airport and Yarmouk Camp, neither was targeted. Both are close to Naqliya and there appears to have been confusion about the location of the strikes.
LNA aircraft then hit Zuwara airport. Confirming the attack, the airport manager expressed shock, saying that it was first time it had been hit. Shortly afterward, a Libya Dawn aircraft is said to have targeted Zintan airport. One report says it bombed the town as well. There have been no reports of casualties.
Last November, the HoR threatened to bomb all airports held by Libya Dawn forces including Zuwara but until now Zuwara had not been touched. The airport, which has no refuelling facilities and limited apron space is being supposedly being prepared to take international flights.
Claims that LNA land forces also attacked Qasr Ben Gashir and were then repulsed by Libya Dawn forces cannot be confirmed. However, at one point yesterday the LNA was said to be near the village which is next to the now destroyed Tripoli International Airport.
The attacks came just hours after a source at the LNA’s Western Operations Room said that the regional military commander, Colonel Idris Madi, had ordered troops to pull back from a number of areas gained yesterday because he did not want to overstretch his forces and leave them in exposed positions. They had been 10 kilometres from Qasr Ben Gashir, the source claimed last night, and still controlled 70 percent of the Aziziya district, including the 4th Forces Camp. However, Madi wanted to consolidate his forces. “We’re now preparing for the next battle,” the source alleged.
Some 70 kilometres south of the airport, in Ghariyan, which the LNA had threatened to capture and towards which they have moved forces , the municipal council last night issued a defiant statement, affirming its loyalty to the continuing General National Congress and the administration of Omar Al-Hassi. Forces from what its called the “army of the tribes” (the term used by Libya Dawn to designate the LNA in the west, which is largely made up of Zintani and Warshefana contingents) had been active around the town but “General Staff forces and National Guard troops dealt with them”, it said.
The National Guard was recently set up by the Congress, directly under its command, as an additional military force.
Reaffirming their support for the UN-brokered peace talks now taking place in Morocco, Ghariyan council also threatened action against anyone who tried to attack townspeople travelling between the town and Tripoli. [/restrict]