Haftar’s army forces say they destroyed a Turkish drone in Tripoli

Haftar’s forces said they hit the drone in an air strike on Mitiga airport. (File photo: AP)

Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army forces said they destroyed a Turkish drone parked at Tripoli’s Mitiga International Airport on Sunday and declared a “general mobilization” as tensions between Ankara and the eastern administration mounted.

Haftar’s forces said they hit the drone in an air strike on Mitiga airport, part of a series of measures meant to punish Turkey for its active involvement in battles. The airport closed after the strike but later reopened, according to its website.

They also said they had arrested two Turks in the northeastern oil town of Ajdabiya.

Later Aguila Saleh, head of the eastern-based House of Representatives allied to Haftar, declared a general mobilization, a spokesman said. No more details were immediately available.

Turkey’s foreign minister earlier accused Haftar’s supporters of arresting six of its citizens, and warned that the eastern forces would become a “legitimate target” if the Turks were not released immediately.

Haftar’s Libyan National Force (LNA) launched a campaign on April 4 to try seize the Libyan capital - but has been pushed back by the Tripoli government’s forces which are supported by Turkey.

Haftar and his backers say they are trying to free Tripoli from militias that they accuse of destabilizing Libya since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Haftar’s administration cut all ties with Turkey on Friday, banning its flights and ships from eastern Libya.

It upped those measures on Sunday by declaring Turkish firms, imports and even symbols illegal.

Ankara has supplied drones and trucks to forces allied to Tripoli’s Western-backed prime minister, Fayez al-Serraj.

The conflict risks disrupting oil production, creating a vacuum to be exploited by militants and prompting more migrants to head for Italy by boat.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:52 - GMT 06:52
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