Tripoli [Libya], July 1: Libyan army chief Khalifa Haftar-led LNA (Libyan National Army) has claimed on Sunday shooting down a Turkish drone found parked at the international airport of Mitiga in the capital Tripoli.
In a statement via Facebook, Al Jazeera cited the LNA saying: “Our fighter (jets) targeted and destroyed a Turkish Bayraktar aircraft as it was taking off … The aircraft had been prepared to target our armed forces’ positions.”
According to ANI news reports, the move comes hours after the Turkish foreign ministry accused Khalifa Haftar’s armed forces of detaining six Turkish citizens, and cautioned the LNA would soon become a “legitimate target” if the arrested citizens were not immediately freed.
In a wake of incident, the authorities have halted their flights at the Mitiga international airports, as notably, it was the only operating civilian airport in the capital.
As per diplomats saying, Ankara has in the past supplied various trucks and drone to enforce allied to Libya’s GNA, while Haftar-led LNA received backing from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In the latest turmoil since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the commander’s Libyan National Army (LNA) force stepped up its presence to take control over Tripoli despite battling that has caused a crisis in the southern suburbs, as well as, displaced tens of hundreds of people.
Internationally recognized Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj has last month said he was not ready to hold negotiation talks with commander Khalifa Haftar to put an end to the two-month-long offensives against Tripoli.
Earlier in April, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the head of Libyan National Army (LNA), launched his offensive to gain control over Tripoli which the GNA controls. Around 400 people have lost their lives with more than thousands been displaced as GNA and LNA’s forces clashed in the capital, Tripoli, according to ANI news reports.
Since the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has been divided into two sectors. The Libyan National Army (LNA) backed parliament controls the east of Libya, while the United Nations-backed interim GNA (Government of National Accord) holds control over the western region on Libya from Tripoli.