Forces led by the retired Libyan general Khalifa Haftar announced their responsibility for the airstrikes on military camps near Tripoli airport yesterday, the Anadolu news agency reported.
At least four troops have been killed in the operation, medical sources said.
According to Brigadier-General Saqr Adam Geroushi, commander of Haftar’s airforce, fighter planes belonging to Haftar carried out the aerial attacks on militant sites in Tripoli, bombing military barracks and missile launchers.
Geroushi did not provide further details on the operation, but said his forces will broadcast the detailed accounts in a recorded statement on Libyan national TV today.
A source at the rival Libyan Dawn forces told Anadolu that “unidentified planes” bombed camps near Tripoli International Airport, which are controlled by their troops.
The interim Libyan government said yesterday that it had no conclusive evidence regarding the identity of those behind the airstrikes.
The government has held “both sides of the fighting” responsible for “damaging the lives and properties of Libyans”.
Operation Libyan Dawn, launched on July 13, is formed by a number of “Misrata revolutionaries” and “Tripoli revolutionaries”. It also includes Islamist troops opposed to Haftar in the Libyan capital. The operation aims to seize control of Tripoli airport, now controlled by forces allied with Haftar. The fighting has so far led to the displacement of 8,000 families and the destruction of a number of state-owned buildings.
Haftar launched the Karama Operation in Benghazi in May allegedly to “purge Libya from extremists and Islamist militias”. However, rival troops have retaken most military bases in Benghazi, forcing Haftar’s troops to retreat to an air base outside the city.
The latest clashes between rival militias in Benghazi and Tripoli have been the deadliest since the overthrow of long-time dictator Muammar Al-Gaddafi. At least 200 people have been killed in the fighting, and most western governments were forced to withdraw their diplomats from Libya to escape the unrest.