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04 Apr 2020 | 05:29 AM UTC

Libya: GNA airstrikes kill multiple LNA militants in Sirte Province April 3 /update 1

GNA forces kill multiple LNA militants in Sirte Province on April 3 in response to repeated LNA violations of ceasefire in place; further incidents possible

security
LBY

Event

On Friday, April 3, at least 20 members loyal to the Libyan National Army (LNA) were killed in Washka and Buwayrat al-Hasoun (Sirte Province) following airstrikes carried out by forces of the Government of National Accord (GNA). The spokesman for the GNA confirmed on Friday that the airstrikes were part of the GNA-led Burkan al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) Operation, which was introduced in April 2020 with the aim to combat LNA's assault on the capital Tripoli. The GNA's air campaign has increased in intensity over recent weeks, with the GNA showing its newly established capability, which in turn has led to airstrikes coming more common on both sides. 

These reports come amid calls for a ceasefire in order to allow authorities to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Libya currently has ten confirmed cases of the virus.

Similar attacks are possible over the coming hours and days.

Context

The above event comes shortly after another recent airstrike carried out by GNA forces in Bani Walid (Sof-Aljeen district) on April 2, in which they destroyed a munitions convoy transporting arms to forces loyal to the LNA. The strikes were allegedly carried out in response to the LNA's repeated violations of the current ceasefire in place.

The LNA launched an offensive on Tripoli on April 4, 2019, and prompted evacuations of foreigners from Tripoli on April 7, 2019. LNA and GNA airstrikes have been sporadically reported since April 8, 2019. The bulk of recent fighting has been concentrated in the southern suburbs of the capital.

Advice

The security environment in Libya remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas (with appropriate security protocols in place), other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.