Libya airstrikes on airbase kill two, injure 13

The Benghazi Defence Brigades were the targets of the strikes.

Airstrikes carried out by the Libyan National Army (LNA) on the Jufra airbase in the centre of the country have killed two people and wounded another 13.

The Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) were the targets of the strikes, although there were other militias in the area, including those from Misrata situated on the Mediterranean coast, the Libya Herald reported on Friday.

Before the attack, local residents reported that they heard the sound of planes overhead.

The attacking aircraft took off from the Al Khadim base, in Al Marj in northeastern Libya, used in recent weeks by fighter jets from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The UAE maintains a military base that supports the operations of Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya.

Haftar’s Emirati allies want to maintain a presence on Libyan territory in order to act in support of his military operations, and to protect his main base in AL Marj.

Haftar, a former loyalist of the late Muammar Gadaffi, has gained popularity in the eastern city of Benghazi for fighting Islamic militants.

Violence also continues to plague in the Abu Saleem and Salahadeen neighbourhoods of the capital Tripoli.

Clashes erupted several days ago between the Abu Saleem Central Security Force belonging to Abdul Ghani Al Kikli and gunmen loyal to the Salah Al Burki militia, most of them from Misrata.

During the fighting tanks and heavy mortar were used forcing residents to stay indoors. There were also reports of shooting in Ain Zara and Tajoura.

Meanwhile, the UN Special envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, is to be replaced by former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The decision to replace Kobler was made by the new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

So far there has been no official confirmation, although a leaked letter from Guterres to the UN Security Council on Wednesday announcing the appointment had been circulating on social media. In it Guterres thanks Kobler for his service.

Responding to the move the former Libyan representative to the UN Ibrahim Dabbashi criticised the UN for failing to consult Libyan authorities before making the decision.

During his last days as the UN’s Libyan envoy Kobler has slammed a European Union (EU) proposal on how to deal with the thousands of desperate African refugees who attempt the perilous sea journey to Europe, using Libya as the point of departure.

Earlier in the week criticised a European Union (EU) plan to send migrants back to Libya and suggested such a decision would be a violation of international standards and the Geneva Convention.

“You can’t send them (migrants) back to camps where they will go hungry, be tortured and raped,” he said.

In his final report to the Council Kobler said: “The citizens of Libya deserve security and an end to the rampant crime and lawlessness.”

Kobler was a personal appointment by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The new special envoy, US-educated Salam Fayyad, was Palestinian finance minister from 2002 to 2005 and Palestinian prime minister from 2007 to 2013.

His background is in finance, having previously worked for both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and is regarded as having been a successful finance minister.

Seen as both a conciliator and a pragmatist, Salam Fayyad will, however, have his work cut out for him in trying to implement a Libyan Political Agreement that is widely seen as broken and unimplementable, the Herald reported.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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