Published: June 08, 2019
LNA Establishes Relative Control over Tripoli Airspace
LNA air force strikes militia target near Mitiga International Airport. Asharq Al-Awsat
Cairo - Khalid Mahmoud
Libya’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Prime Minister Faiz al-Sarraj, has been rallying international pressure to block military advances made by the Libyan National Army (LNA) in its operation aimed at liberating the country’s capital.
The GNA’s rush to gain support from Washington came after LNA chief Khalifa Haftar locked full control over Tripoli’s airspace.
In parallel, a prominent US official refuted reports of a meeting being scheduled to bring together Haftar and President Donald Trump.
The official, who requested anonymity, wrote to Asharq Al-Awsat in an e-mail that there are no known plans whatsoever for holding talks with Haftar in Washington.
Rumors of a meeting followed a phone conversation between Trump and Haftar last April.
The GNA, for its part, urged the Trump administration to weigh in politically to end Haftar’s military offensive. Vice Chairman of the GNA’s Presidential Council Ahmed Omar Maiteeq had revealed he recently visited Washington, yet failed to meet with any US official.
Maiteeq, in a Facebook post, said that during his stay he met with a number of Senators and Congressmen, who had expressed US support for the GNA and finding a political solution for the embattled country.
Nevertheless, Maiteeq’s reaffirmations coincided with fierce battles erupting between LNA forces and GNA loyalist militias in Tripoli.
The LNA media center reported air forces conducting raids successfully for the second day in a row, making a solid advance on militia posts near the Mitiga International Airport and managing to destroy a Turkey-made drone.
In the LNA media press release, Major General Abdel Salam al-Hassi said that the downed Turkish drone was targeted after it hit civilian areas in Tripoli’s Qasr bin Ghashir district and in Garyan.
The LNA airforce chased the drone back to the vicinity of Mitiga airport, where it was neutralized before landing at military barracks.