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Libyan government forces launch counterattack after Haftar militias pound Tripoli

Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) launched counterattacks against rebel leader Khalifa Haftar‘s militia positions after his fighters rained rockets on the capital of Tripoli early Tuesday.

GNA military spokesperson Mohammed Kanunu issued a statement from Al-Watiya airbase in western Libya, saying that Haftar positions were struck after a ferocious assault on the capital by the rebel militias.Kanunu revealed that the airstrikes targeted pro-Haftar soldiers who had fled the airbase.

Earlier this month airstrikes by government forces were launched on Al-Watiya, destroying three of Haftar’s Su-22 fighter jets and several heavy weapons and facilities.

In total the GNA recaptured seven towns and two cities from Haftar’s forces, Sabratha and Surman included.

Al-Watiya was captured by Haftar in 2014 and used as one of the headquarters for his operations in western Libya.

Earlier this month, GNA drone strikes targeted the Al-Watiya air base, near Sirte, destroying an ammunitions depot, a fighter jet, and killing as many as 12 senior commanders.

Forces allied to rogue Libyan general Haftar rained rockets on the capital after being ousted by government loyalists from a string of towns to its west.

Rockets caused loud explosions throughout the night, AFP correspondents reported.

Several homes had been hit around Mitiga airbase in the eastern suburbs, the capital’s sole functioning airport.

The UN-recognised Government of National Accord, which has been battling an offensive against the capital for just over a year, accused Haftar’s forces of taking revenge against Tripoli’s civilian population following their losses on Monday.

“The criminal militia and mercenaries have taken out their anger on residential neighbourhoods of Tripoli to avenge their defeat, firing dozens of rockets and missiles on the capital indiscriminately,” spokesman Mohamad Gnounou said.

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