TRIPOLI (Reuters) - At least three people were killed on Tuesday in air strikes on a town west of Tripoli carried out by forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized government, which is in conflict with a rival force controlling the capital, officials said.
The strikes targeted three locations in the Zawura city, included a food supply storage area, a fishing port and another unspecified target outside of the city, according to the local authorities and a military official.
Libya is caught in a conflict between two rival governments, one which is self-declared and was set up in Tripoli after forces from group known as Libya Dawn took over the capital in the summer, and another, internationally recognized government which operates from the eastern city of Tobruk.
The strikes were carried out by forces loyal to the internationally recognized government which is operating out of the east since the fall of Tripoli, said a Libyan army spokesman, but did not give more details.
“We officially claim the air strikes on Zawurah today as part of our battle against terrorism. We had already warned these places belong to operation Libya Dawn because they used for illegal acts,” said the spokesman, Mohamed Hejazi.
But the mayor of Zawura municipal council Haffed Jumaa told Reuters the strikes were carried out by former Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, who is conducting a campaign against Islamist militants and has allied himself with Tobruk.
“The warplanes took off from Haftar-controlled Al-Watia air-base” Haffed said.
He said at least three people had been killed in the air strikes.
After the NATO-backed war ended Muammar Gaddafi’s one-man rule in 2011, Libya has struggled to reach stability. Former rebel brigades who once fought side by side have now turned on each other, aligning themselves with rival political factions in a scrabble for control.
Reporting by Libya staff; Editing by Patrick Markey and Raissa Kasolowsky