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13 Apr 2020 | 02:11 PM UTC

Libya: GNA offensive in western Tripolitania prompts LNA rocket attack on Mitiga Airport (MJI) April 13 /update 2

GNA offensive in western Tripolitania prompts LNA rocket attack on Mitiga International Airport (MJI) on April 13; LNA expected to escalate attacks in Tripoli over the coming hours

security
LBY

Event

As of Monday, April 13, the Government of National Accord (GNA) offensive in western Tripolitania's Az-Zawiyah and Nuqat al-Khams district has rolled back the influence of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the area and has exposed LNA-controlled Watiyah Airbase as vulnerable to GNA incursion. The GNA has taken control of Surman, Sabratah, Ajaylat, Jadida, Tawela, Jmail, Rigdalin, Zelten, and Assah, prompting the LNA to fire over 40 rockets at the closed Mitiga International Airport (MJI), from where the GNA has likely been running some of its air operations in support of its offensive. Should the GNA be able to hold their territorial gains, the move would mark a major military success.

Retaliatory LNA attacks on Tripoli are expected over the coming hours, especially if the GNA takes control of Watiyah Airbase. Further clashes between LNA and GNA forces are to be expected over the near term.

Context

The Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive on Tripoli on April 4, 2019, and prompted evacuations of foreigners from Tripoli on April 7, 2019. LNA and Government of National Accord (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.