Libyan Forces Carry Out Airstrikes on Capital of Tripoli

Forces loyal to rival Libyan army commander Khalifa Hifter are attempting to seize the capital of the UN-backed government

Libyan National Army (LNA) members, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, leave Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli, April 7, 2019.
\ ESAM OMRAN AL-FETORI/ REUTERS

Eastern Libyan forces carried out an airstrike on the southern part of the capital Tripoli on Sunday, a witness and an eastern military source said. 

On Saturday, forces loyal to rival Libyan army commander Khalifa Hifter seized control of the main airport in Libya's Tripoli, two days after Hifter ordered his forces to seize the capital of the UN-backed government.

Hifter's media office said in a post online that they took full control of the Tripoli international airport and were working to secure the facility. They posted photos of troops apparently inside the airport, saying "we are standing at the heart of the Tripoli international airport."

Libya split between rival governments in the east and west after descending into chaos following the 2011 NATO-supported uprising that toppled and later killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Hifter's offensive on Tripoli could plunge the oil-rich country into another spasm of violence, possibly the worst since the 2011 civil war that toppled and later killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The country is governed by rival authorities: The internationally backed government in Tripoli and the government in the east, which Hifter is aligned with. Each is backed by an array of militias.

There was no immediate statement from the UN-backed government, the militias that support it, or the UN.