Today, Friday, new drone strikes targeted smugglers’ sites in western Libya, as part of a large-scale military operation launched by the Libyan government against smugglers’ sites since May 25.
On Friday, new drone strikes targeted smugglers’ sites in western Libya as part of a large-scale military operation launched by the Libyan government against smugglers’ sites since May 25, according to local media.
Libya Al-Ahrar TV channel reported on Friday that “air strikes targeted two sites” in the city of Zuwara, 120 kilometers from the capital, Tripoli, near the border with Tunisia.
The channel broadcast pictures of columns of smoke rising from two places in the city, which is the starting point for illegal immigrant boats to Europe.
On May 25, the Ministry of Defense of the Tripoli-based government of Abd al-Hamid al-Dabiba announced the launch of a large-scale military operation against “the dens of fuel smuggling, drug trafficking, and human trafficking in the West Coast region.”
On Tuesday, the ministry said in a statement: “The objectives set in the first phase of the operation were achieved by destroying seven boats intended for human trafficking, six warehouses for drug traffickers, and nine tanks used for smuggling fuel.”
It announced the launch of “another phase” of this process.
This announcement comes despite the criticism it raised in a country where two governments are competing for power, one based in Tripoli (west) and the other based in the east, amid security chaos since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.
The operation, which has so far been limited to raids by marches, initially targeted the coastal city of Zawiya (45 kilometers west of Tripoli), to later extend and target other cities such as Maya, 30 kilometers from the capital, and Al-Ajailat (about 80 kilometers west of Tripoli), according to the media.
During a meeting with army officers broadcast by the media on Thursday evening, Dabaiba, who is also the defense minister, praised the accuracy of the drone strikes.
He wrote on his Facebook page: “We will strike with an iron fist the dens of crime everywhere we reach our hands.”
He pointed out that the drone strikes are the first stage of the operation, stressing that the second stage aims to “arrest all wanted persons,” which means the possibility of launching a ground operation.