Libya’s Maitiga air base attacked by unidentified jet

24 November 2014 (Last Updated November 24th, 2014 18:30)

Libya's Maitiga air base was the victim of two attacks by a Libyan air force jet.

Libya's Maitiga air base was the victim of two attacks by a Libyan air force jet.

While the attack which struck an area near the runway did not damage it, a number of nearby civilian homes were destroyed.

Airlines had been using the Maitiga air base after fighting in July caused severe damage to Tripoli's main international airport, rendering it dysfunctional.

The airport is currently under the control of the Libya Dawn militia group that has set up a parallel authority in Tripoli to the elected government sitting in the eastern city of Tobruk.

"We are now facing an enemy that has a lot of weapons and has support from regional powers."

Libya's National Army had recently declared the Tripoli and Misrata as 'military zones' and had ordered for them to be shut down. The order released on 21 November had asked the aviation agency to take measures to ensure that the order was followed.

According to media reports, fighter jets from an unknown country have carried out at least four air attacks near Tripoli.

The BBC quoted local media reports saying that flights were initially redirected to the city of Misrata but later resumed at Maitiga.

Libyan air force head General Saqr al-Jarrushi told the AFP news agency and local media that his forces were behind the air strikes.

The ongoing civil unrest in the country is the result of a battle between Islamist forces and forces aligned with the Libyan Parliament and General Khalifa Haftar. Al-Jarrushi is loyal to Haftar whose forces have been fighting Islamist militants in eastern Libya.

Prime minister Omar al-Hassi was quoted by BBC as saying that his government had been open to dialogue with their counterparts but would now be pursuing a policy of war.

Al-Hassi said: "We are now facing an enemy that has a lot of weapons and has support from regional powers and unfortunately elsewhere in the world who are providing them with weapons and experts."

Islamist and other militias have taken over Tripoli by setting up an alternative government to the elected parliament based in Tobruk.