Cairo: Just two days after Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar declared a ``final” and decisive battle for the capital Tripoli, heavy fighting raged for a 24-hour period between his troops and militias loosely allied with the internationally backed government based in the city, officials said Saturday.
The fighting came after Haftar, the leader of the Libyan National Army, said Thursday that the ``zero hour’’ of his battle for Tripoli had begun, nearly eight months after he began an offensive to take the city from the country’s Government of National accord supported by the UN.
The LNA’s media office shared images of reinforcements arriving in Tripoli, including ground troops and pickup trucks with mounted machine guns and of clashes in southern parts of the city.
Haftar’s forces took control of the town of al-Tawghaar, just south of Tripoli, the LNA said.
But Tripoli-based forces disputed that claim.
The LNA’s media office said it shot down a Turkish-made drone over the town of Ain Zara south of the capital.
Haftar forces captured a major military camp from the Tripoli-allied militias and clashes continued around the camp, officials from both sides said.
The LNA also launched airstrikes overnight against an air base at the Air Force Academy in the city of Misrata, targeting military warehouses allegedly housing Turkish-made drones used by Tripoli-allied militias, said LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mesmari.