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France denies giving missiles to Haftar forces in Libya

Read: 527     18:45     10 July 2019    

France on Wednesday denied providing missiles to forces loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar in Libya’s east.

Haftar commands forces loyal to a rival government based in eastern Libya.

According to media reports on Wednesday, forces of Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in capital Tripoli had seized four French missiles when it overran a camp of Haftar forces in June.

A statement by the French Defense Ministry said the anti-tank Javelin missiles were intended for the “self-protection” of French forces deployed for counterterrorism, confirming the presence of French forces on Libyan territory.

However, the statement added that the missiles "have not been transferred to local forces."

The missiles were "damaged and unusable", it added.

In early April, Haftar launched a wide-ranging campaign to take the capital, but his forces have failed to achieve their primary objective, although they have captured several strategic towns and cities in the vicinity.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.

Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power -- one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli -- and a host of heavily-armed militia groups.


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