Commander of LNA Air Force Reveals Details of Attack on the Military Base at Mitiga Airport – Al Marsad

The Libyan National Army’s Air Force Operations Room reiterated its warning against the use of Mitiga International Airport for military purposes by the GNA. This is the first statement by the LNA’s Air Force after destroying a Turkish drone in the air raid on the Mitiga Military Base on Thursday.

[Libya, 7 June 2019] – In a statement to Al-Marsad on Thursday night, Major-General Mohamed Al-Manfur told Al Marsad that a Turkish drone took off just before midnight yesterday from Mitiga International Airport and flew in the direction of LNA armed forces in a reconnaissance sortie for the purpose of targeting.

He added: “This aircraft was in a mission of providing direct support for the militias that control Tripoli, but our Air Force fighter pilots chased it until it landed at the military base of the Mitiga International Airport (MJI). After confirming its presence outside the jurisdiction of MJI civil aviation authorities, the Air Force of the Libyan National Army targeted and destroyed the drone. We, hereby, confirm that the media of the militias controlling Tripoli, no matter how misleading, will not be able to present a single visual evidence that could prove the opposite.”

“We assure the civilian authority of the Mitiga International Airport that we are always keen not to disrupt the airport civilian operations and flights. Facilitating travel movement of the residents of the capital is very important to us because we know that MJI is the only civil aviation gateway in Tripoli after the terrorist Operation Dawn (Fajr Libya) destroyed Tripoli International Airport (TIP), the main airport in the city, in 2014,” Major-General Mohamed Al-Manfur continued.

Drone in flames after being hit by LNA Air Force.

Al-Manfur confirmed early Thursday that the air force of the LNA targeted a Turkish drone in the early hours of the morning after monitoring and tracking it when it was trying to target the army forces south of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

In an interview with Al-Marsad on Thursday, he said that the plane was completely put out of service after a direct air hit by the LNA Air Force after landing near the terminal of the warplanes at the Mitiga Military Base. “There is also an Operations Room for the militias at the military section of the MJI,” Al-Manfur confirmed.

He added that there were 30 Turkish military experts who are working for the GNA militias and that the Turkish drone that was destroyed was one of three planes of the same type. He also confirmed that the final assessment of the strike confirmed that it was 100% successful and did not result in any collateral damage.

Al-Manfur also confirmed that the air force has not targeted and will never target the airport terminals or the civilian planes to keep and sustain the continuity and regularity of air travel flow to and from the capital. However, “hostile military aircraft will be a legitimate target for the Air Force which will not hesitate to hit any military target. The Muslim Brotherhood spread fake news that our goal was to disrupt a Presidential Council airlift carrying humanitarian aid to the flood victims at Ghat. This is just a media hoax to cover up the painful blow,” Al-Manfur said.

The MJI authority initially announced that a runway was targeted before distancing from fake media reports and confirming that the bombing was outside the runway and that the movement of civilian aviation and flights was not disrupted.

Western Libya Operations Rooms urged avoiding raids on civilian airports in the western region, particularly Mitiga International Airport, to maintain the regularity and continuity of the flow of air travel for the citizens after Tripoli International Airport was completely destroyed by Operation Dawn in 2014.

On Friday night the security agencies of GNA at Mitiga International Airport rejected requests by Libyan and foreign journalists to photograph the site of the shelling of the military base at the airport during the past 48 hours.

© Al Marsad English. 2019.