Exclusive: LNA Communiqué in Response to Salamé Statement on Mitiga – Al Marsad

The General Command of the Libyan National Army (LNA) issued a statement on Thursday in response to what it described as “the continuous  and absurd attempts to mislead public opinion” on the Mitiga Airport and the circumstances of the air raids on its military section.

[Libya, 2 November 2019] – In a statement received by Al Marsad, the General Command of the LNA accused the UNSMIL together with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and its ministers, of misleading public opinion by reiterating that the site is civilian and not used for military purposes, noting that the civil airport represents a small part of a large military air base called Mitiga Airbase where the Turks are stationed with their killer drones.

Al Marsad, hereby publishes an exclusive English translation of the full text of the LNA General Command press release:

We followed the statements of Mr. Ghassan Salamé, Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) during his inspection tour of the “Mitiga International Airport” accompanied by both the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Transportation of the so-called Government of National Accord on Tuesday, 29 of October, 2019.

We, hereby, express our reservations with regard to the aforementioned inspection tour, and consider it a new chapter in the theatrical play of distorting facts on the ground, and deem it as another media tampering attempt that is systematically practiced by the so-called Government of National Accord, with the support of the UN Special Envoy to Libya, based on the following reasons:

– The UNSMIL completely ignored or forgotten that the “civilian” Mitiga Airport is  located in a small corner at the edge of the massive Mitiga Airbase, which includes military facilities, hangars, combat helicopters and jet fighters. These facilities can be viewed online along with images and detailed maps. It should be recalled, however, that Mitiga Airbase was actually called Wheelus Air Base which was the United States Air Force base in the Kingdom of Libya. At one time it was the largest US military facility outside the US.

– This Airbase, the airport and all the facilities inside it are still under the control of an ideological militia called the Special Deterrence Force (RADA). The allegation made by the so-called GNA Minister of Interior of his ability to secure the Mitiga Airbase through his Ministry of the Interior can be refuted by his own recent statements regarding the dominance of the militias and armed groups in Tripoli, including the RADA militia, and their non-compliance with his orders, and their ongoing looting of the capabilities of the Libyan state. The question that arises here is why has the GNA Minister of the Interior changed today his position and viewpoints.

– The precision airstrikes, carried out by the Air Force of the Libyan National Army (LNA) on the military sites in the military section of Mitiga Airbase that is used for launching attacks on the LNA troops using Turkish unmanned planes, were actually a compelling message that proves the validity of the intelligence information. Furthermore, the recent airlifting to Istanbul, on board a Libyan Air Ambulance plane of two injured men working in the Turkish Army Operations Room at Mitiga Airbase, is another irrefutable evidence of the military nature of the Mitiga Airbase. The news media websites and platforms have already published photocopies of the Turkish passports of the two injured men and documents related to the said flight. This clarifies to the public the extent of the Turkish military intervention in Libya using Libyan military bases, particularly the Mitiga Airbase, Zuwara Airport, and the Misrata Air Force Base.

Based on the keenness of the LNA to protect the lives of civilians and to provide our people in the western region accessibility to civilian air travel, we have never targeted any civilian airport facilities either in Tripoli, Misrata, or Zawara, although we know that these bases and airports are used for military purposes, as well as for transporting terrorists and mercenaries from all over the world to fight with the GNA forces, militias, and armed groups.

– There is a malicious attempt to link the indiscriminate artillery and rocket shelling carried out by the Tripoli militias and armed groups within their infighting over areas of influence, or by consensus among them, with the aim of extorting the GNA to provide them with funding, weapons, and logistical support.

– The ongoing attempts to distort the image of the Libyan National Army and accusing it of targeting the civilian airport at the Mitiga Airbase is to divert attention from the real perpetrators. They cannot point to the identity of the culprits for fear of consequences. We remind Mr. Salamé of his statements and pledges, in September 2018, to the world and national public opinion of revealing the identity of the perpetrator and submit it to the International Criminal Court. This was before the Libyan  National Army (LNA)launched its operation to liberate Tripoli from militias and terrorist groups on 4 April 2019.

– The General Command of the Libyan National Army is a highly disciplined state establishment that announces its responsibility for any military operation it launches. The official spokesperson of the Libyan National  Army periodically announces to the media all the operations carried out by the LNA armed forces within this process. Operation orders are issued by the Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Belgasem Haftar, to air, land or naval combat units based on accurate intelligence information and meticulous scrutiny by the competent apparatuses,  and executed by the units in their respective fields with professionalism and responsibility. This is within the framework of the Libyan national security and is not negotiable or concessional.

© Al Marsad English (2019)



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