The Libyan army has launched airstrikes against the militants’ positions near the capital city of Tripoli.
According to the Libyan army spokesman, Colonel Ahmed al-Mesmari, on Monday, the strikes targeted “a weapons storage facility” belonging to the Libya Dawn militia alliance in Tarhuna, some 80 kilometers southeast of the capital.
Mesmari added that Libya Dawn militants, who are in control of Tripoli, attacked the house of a military officer and murdered “his wife, his daughter, his son, his brother and other people who were there” in retaliation for the army airstrikes.
This is while a spokesman for the militant group rejected Mesmari’s claim about the cold-blooded murder. The spokesman also said there is no weapons depot in Tarhuna, adding that the army offensive hit a refugee camp and killed eight civilians.
“Eight Libyan civilians died in the strike. Sadly this is their strategy, to kill civilians and claim to the international community that they are after weapons,” he went on to say.
On Friday, Libya’s internationally recognized government announced that the army has started an operation to recapture the capital city of Tripoli from armed militants.
Despite the ongoing clashes in the strife-torn country, Libya’s warring factions continue to take part in UN-brokered talks in the Moroccan coastal town of Skhirat.
‘A national unity govt. at reach’
On Monday, United Nations Special Envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon expressed hope that the two sides would agree on a national unity government by the end of the week.
Source of conflict
Libya has two rival camps vying for control of the country, with one controlling Tripoli, and the other — Libya’s internationally recognized government — in control of the cities of Bayda and Tobruk.
Libya’s government and elected parliament moved to the eastern city of Tobruk after an armed group based in the northwestern city of Misrata seized Tripoli and most government institutions in August 2014.
Libya plunged into chaos following 2011 uprising against the dictatorship of Gaddafi. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.
The country has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups, which refuse to lay down arms.