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LNA claims counter-strike against Turkish UAVs

07 August 2019
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The winglets on this UAV seen crashed in this photograph released on 3 August indicate that it was a Wing Loong II. Source: Operation Volcano of Anger

The Libyan National Army (LNA) faction has said it attacked an airport from which Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were being flown in support of the Government of National Accord (GNA) it is trying to oust from Tripoli.

In a 5 August press conference, LNA spokesperson Ahmed al-Mismari said that LNA reconnaissance had discovered the Turkish UAVs at Al-Nimwah Airport 70 km south of Misratah, at which point the group’s General Command ordered it to be attacked by aircraft. “In this air raid we were able to destroy drones in Al-Nimwah and also the infrastructure used to operate them,” he said, according to the English translation at the weekly briefing. He did not identify the aircraft that carried out the attack.

Mismari said this was one of a number of airstrikes that the LNA had carried out, with several of the other airstrikes hitting what he described as terrorist targets.

He denied reports that an airstrike killed more than 40 unarmed people who were attending a reconciliation meeting in Murzuq in southwest Libya on 4 August, saying it was anti-LNA propaganda. He said a GNA-backed militia had entered the town where it carried out a “great slaughter of the civilians”.

The LNA sent aircraft that were “able to stop the security threat” to the town with “very accurate airstrikes based on air and ground reconnaissance”, Mismari said. “We were able to destroy large numbers of military vehicles, tanks, and equipment that was used in this vile attack.”

The LNA said it carried out another airstrike against Mistratah Air Academy late on 5 August, hitting an Il-76 transport aircraft that it said had recently landed to deliver munitions from Turkey.

Interfax reported that the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry had confirmed that a Ukrainian Il-76 had been damaged as it unloaded humanitarian supplies at Mistratah Airport.

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