Military Capabilities

Libyan National Army says it attacked Turkish arms ship in Tripoli port

21 February 2020

GNA officials inspect Tripoli’s port on 19 February, a day after it was attacked by the Libyan National Army. The impacts are seen on the outside of a wall of containers set up around part of the port where a roll-on/off ship was docked. Source: Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Libyan National Army (LNA) faction has confirmed it attacked Tripoli’s seaport on 18 February, saying it targeted a ship delivering Turkish weapons to the Government of National Accord (GNA).

“Yesterday we targeted weapons and ammunitions that were being brought into Tripoli seaport,” LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said during a press conference on the following day. “[This] wasn’t an offensive operation, it was a defensive operation to prevent the terrorist groups from procuring advanced weapons and ammunitions.”

He criticised UN Special Representative for Libya Ghassan Salamé for describing the attack as a breach of a ceasefire agreed in Berlin without noting that the arrival of an arms ship from Turkey was also a violation.

“As long as the truce continues to be violated, as it was today against the port of Tripoli, it is very, very difficult to imagine a dialogue and a negotiation between the two parties,” Salamé said.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) said three civilians were killed and five injured in the rocket attack. It took journalists to the port to show them shipping containers that had been damaged; some were opened to show they did not contain weapons.

A Maxar satellite image taken before the attack showed the same containers had been arranged in a wall around part of the port in an apparent effort to conceal the unloading of cargo from a ship docked alongside.

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