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LNA attacks Mitiga airbase

An aircraft belonging to the Libya National Army (LNA) this morning bombed Mitiga airbase. There are also unconfirmed reports that it or another plane attacked the west Tripoli suburb of Janzour.

According to the commander of the Libyan air force, Saqr Adam Gerushi, the Tripoli raid was in reprisal for air attacks yesterday evening in Sidra and Ras Lanuf, which he blamed on the Misratans.

In neither yesterday’s nor today’s attacks was there any serious damage. The target in Sidra appears to have been fuel tanks, but missile apparently landed nearby blowing a hole in the road. In Ras Lanouf, there was an explosion next to the small airport runway.

In Tripoli today, the pilot of the plane attacking Mitiga demonstrated the same lack of targeting skills. Three missiles appear to have been fired. While one hit a gate inside the base, the other two again simply ripped holes in the ground.

Flights to and from the airport were suspended for an hour but then resumed.

In Janzour, the target is said to be a facility being used by the Mobile Forces, part of Libya Dawn.

Reports that Misrata had been attacked are untrue. “Everything is normal”, a local resident told the Libya Herald. The mistake appears to have from Gerushi’s announcement that a raid was taking place in Mitiga and “would take place” in Misrata.

Potentially more serious are claims that in addition to yesterday’s attack on Sidra and Ras Lanuf, three oilfields also came under artillery fire at the same time. According to spokesman for Central Region Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), Ali Al-Hassi, the raids were launched by Islamic State forces and were still continuing this morning.

The three are Mabruk, some 170 kilometres southeast of Sirte and where at least ten people died in an IS attack at the beginning of February, as well as the nearby Bahi and Dahra fields. These came under IS attack shortly afterwards.

Yesterday, Hassi announced that attacks on Sidra and other oil terminals by Misratan forces and IS were “imminent”. His announcement today, if true, appears to indicate coordination between forces in Misrata and IS.

Moreover, this newspaper has been told by a senior former commander of one of the main battalions in the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council, that Misratan forces sent to confront IS forces in Sirte who have taken over the town, reached a deal with them, as a result of which a number left, heading towards Obari in the south.

It is not yet known if the Mitiga bombing will have consequences for the Thursday’s planned dialogue talks, to be held in Morocco. The first deputy president of the continuing General National Congress is due to make a press statement later today.

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