Western Libya civilian airport seriously damaged in fresh air strikes – UN

epa02928500 Smoke rises from an area on the outskirts of Sirte, Libya, after NATO air strikes and Libyan rebels pushing to take control of the city on 21 September 2011. Libyan rebels claimed major advances in areas controlled by loyalists of the fugitive leader Muammar Gaddafi on 21 September, as a mandate of NATO?s military operations in the North African country was extended. Rebel commanders said their forces were in full control of Sabha in the country's desert south, and had tightened their grip on three entrances to Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown, on the Mediterranean coast. EPA/GUILLEM VALLE

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Eastern Libyan forces have seriously damaged with air strikes a civilian airport in western Libya lacking any military use, the United Nations said on Sunday.

Last week, the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) force said it had twice bombed the airport of Zuwara, a town west of Tripoli, saying it had targeted hangars used by Turkish drones.

The attacks are part of a campaign currently in its fifth month to try to take Tripoli held by the internationally recognized government. The LNA is commanded by Khalifa Haftar allied to a parallel government in the east.

The U.N. Libya mission (UNSMIL) said in a statement it had visited Zuwara airport and found no military infrastructure or assets.

“The Mission renews its condemnation of the attacks conducted by the LNA forces against Zuwara airport, which cause serious damage,” it said, adding that the runway had been damaged.

The LNA also flew late on Saturday several air strikes against an air base in the western city of Misrata, whose forces are helping to defend Tripoli, residents said.

“Three massive explosions could be heard,” said one of them. The LNA could not be immediately reached for comment.

The LNA has resorted to increased air strikes against Tripoli airport and other targets since its ground campaign has failed to make it beyond southern suburbs of the Libyan capital.

via Yeni Safak / Reuters

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