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Pro-Haftar forces take desert air base as they push west

June 4, 2017 at 8:01 am

Forces loyal to East Libya-based parliament said on Saturday they have captured the Al-Jufra airbase in central Libya from a rival militia.

“The forces entered the base without any resistance,” Mohammed Lafiras, a spokesman for the forces, told Anadolu Agency.

He said the base fell to the forces, led by military commander Khalifa Haftar, after troops belonging to the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) withdrew from the area.

According to the spokesman, seven people had been killed in clashes between locals and BDB militants.

“We are in the process of preparing a plan to secure the area and deploy patrols to clear militants from the area,” he said.

Pro-Haftar forces had bombed the BDB sites in Al-Jufra area during the past two days in revenge for an alleged attack by unity government forces on the Barak al-Shati airbase in southern Libya, which left scores of people dead.

Libya has been locked in a state of violence and turmoil since 2011 when a bloody popular uprising ended with the ouster and death of former President Muammar Gaddafi.

Following Gaddafi’s departure, the country’s stark political divisions yielded two rival seats of government, one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli.