Libyan Air Force destroys mercenary convoy near Egyptian ‘red line’

Libyan Air Force fighter jets bombed GNA forces in Wadi Bey, west of Sirte. (AFP)
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Updated 12 August 2020

Libyan Air Force destroys mercenary convoy near Egyptian ‘red line’

  • Armed convoy of suspected Turkish-backed mercenaries affiliated with Fayez Al-Sarraj, PM of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) bombed in Wadi Bey, west of Sirte
  • Controlling Sirte would open the way for controlling oil ports in the western area known as the Oil Crescent, which contains the country’s biggest oil inventory

CAIRO: The Libyan Air Force has bombed an armed convoy of suspected Turkish-backed mercenaries affiliated with Fayez Al-Sarraj, prime minister of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) in Wadi Bey area west of the city of Sirte, close to the so-called “red line” drawn by Egypt.

Libyan sources said that the group, backed by Turkish mercenaries, was trying to infiltrate the city, but that it had been destroyed, without providing details on the numbers involved or of casualties.

Official authorities did not comment on any operations targeting Wadi Bey, which is considered a strategic point given its proximity to Sirte and Al-Jufra on the northwestern edge of the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) defense line.

The airstrike came a day after the Coastal Defense Forces targeted a boat, which infiltrated the maritime interdiction before the Ra’s Lanuf coast.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi had claimed in an earlier speech: “Sirte and Al-Jufra are considered a red line for Egypt’s security. We will not allow anyone to come near it.” 

He added: “Libya will be defended only by its people and we will support them.”

The significance of Sirte lies in its location, which is 1,000 kilometers from the Egyptian border, between the Libyan capital Tripoli and Benghazi on the coast.

Controlling Sirte would open the way for controlling oil ports in the western area known as the Oil Crescent, which contains the country’s biggest oil inventory.

The strategically significant Al-Jufra Airbase lies south of Sirte, meanwhile, and is only separated from it by a 300 kilometer road.

Al-Jufra is one of Libya’s biggest airbases, known for its recently stengthened infrastructure to host state-of-the-art weaponry. It also serves as a major operation room for the LNA.

Meanwhile, LNA spokesman Ahmed Al-Mesmari said that Turkey had not halted its transfer of military equipment and mercenaries into Libya.

Al-Mesmari added in an interview with Sky News Arabia that Ankara had taken over “a number of camps in the west (of Libya). Such camps are under the direct commandment of Turkish officers.”

Al-Mesamri added that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not care about the arms embargo imposed on Libya, and stressed that Ankara was continuing to transfer weapons into Libya.


Five civilians killed in Baghdad rocket attack

Updated 4 min 30 sec ago

Five civilians killed in Baghdad rocket attack

  • The rockets targeted the international airport but struck a residential home close by instead
  • Rocket attacks have become a frequent occurrence, often targeting the US Embassy in Baghdad and US troops present in Iraqi bases as well as Baghdad Airport

BAGHDAD: Iraqi militia groups fired two Katyusha rockets on a house in Baghdad, killing two women and three children and wounding two other children, the Iraqi military said on Monday.
The deaths were the first among Iraqi civilians in the latest outbreak of violence, during which Iran-backed Iraqi Shiite militias have been blamed for targeting US interests in the country. Police sources said Baghdad airport was the target of the attack. 
The rocket was launched from the Al-Jihad neighborhood of Baghdad.
The attacks have become a frequent occurrence, often targeting the US Embassy in Baghdad, within the heavily fortified Green Zone, and US troops present in Iraqi bases as well as Baghdad Airport. Roadside bombs have also frequently targeted convoys carrying equipment destined for US-led coalition forces.
Previous attacks have caused minor damage but rarely deaths or injuries.
The frequency of the rockets have strained Iraq-US relations, prompting the Trump administration last week to threaten to close its diplomatic mission in Baghdad if Shiite militia groups believed to be orchestrating them are not reigned in.
The disparate nature of Shiite militias following the US assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani and Iranian militia leader Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis has complicated Iraqi efforts to clamp down on rogue armed elements.
A government raid on the powerful Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah, suspected of launching rocket attacks, backfired when those detained were released for want of evidence.