Dozens killed in army attack on Libya airbase

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |   May 19, 2017 at 11:15 AM

May 19 (UPI) -- At least 60 people were killed at a rebel airbase in Libya this week by government forces, the country's defense ministry said.

The Third Force of the Government of National Accord, the internationally recognized government of Libya, said it attacked and captured the Brak Shati airbase in southern Libya. The facility, near the government-held city of Sabha, was seized after heavy fighting Thursday with forces of Operation Dignity, a faction of the rebel Libyan National army led by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The groups are part of a web of rival militias and shifting alliances in Libya, a country without a strong central government since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. An informal truce was reached in southern Libya earlier this month after Haftar met with recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

Government army spokesman Mohammad Agliwan said the attackers "liberated the base and destroyed all the forces inside."

An area hospital treated dozens of fighters and civilian workers, the BBC reported Friday, adding that the majority of the fatalities were allied with the Libyan National Army.

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