Two commanders of eastern Libyan forces trying to take Tripoli from the internationally-recognised government died in a drone strike, officials said.
The strike is a blow to Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libya National Army (LNA), which in April launched a campaign to take Tripoli. So far the offensive has not breached the city’s southern defences.
The drone strike was in Tarhouna, south-east of Tripoli. The town is the main LNA base since it lost Gharyan.
The Tripoli government and LNA both confirmed two Tarhouna-based commanders – Mohsen al-Kani, head of the Kaniyat armed group and Abdelwahab al-Magri, head of the 9th brigade – died in the strike. A brother of Kani was also killed.
Both armed groups teamed with the LNA whose forces control the east with the help of a parallel government and are key to the Tripoli campaign, analysts said.
Last week, Germany announced plans for a UN-backed conference on the future of Libya in an attempt to force regional actors to stop funding and arming the country’s warring sides. The LNA is backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, while Turkey supports forces allied to the Tripoli government.