Forces loyal to rival Libyan army commander Khalifa Hifter say they have seized control of the main airport in Libya's capital Tripoli, two days after Hifter ordered his forces to seize the seat of Libya's United Nations -backed government.
The announcement of the air raid was made on the Facebook page of the "media office" of Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army as fighting raged around 50 kilometres south of Tripoli. "We have formed an operative staff including units of the armed forces and the interior ministry".
"Of course we consider that the most important thing is that (military) operations there do not lead to bloodshed".
On April 4, Haftar announced the launch of an offensive on Tripoli.
Fayez Sarraj, head of government in Tripoli, accused Hifter of "betraying" him.
The UN-backed government in Tripoli called their presence a "violation" of Libya's sovereignty.
Fighters loyal to Hifter clashed with pro-government forces in neighbourhoods south and west of Tripoli, including near the old, now-defunct worldwide airport that Hifter's forces claimed to control. It answers to the authorities based in eastern Libya, who are at odds with the UN-backed government.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) forces headed by Colonel Khalifa Haftar launched an air strike in southern Tripoli on Sunday, according to witnesses and various wire agencies.
The North African country has been gripped by unrest since its longtime leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was overthrown and killed in 2011.
Oil prices rise amid falling global output
Meanwhile, WTI is now trading at $62.84 per barrel, having hit a four-month high of $62.89 soon before press time. Energy Information Administration report on crude oil inventories is due to be released on Wednesday at 10:30a.m.
At least one armed group from Misrata known as Brigade 166 arrived Saturday in eastern Tripoli with dozens of vehicles, some mounted with anti-aircraft guns, to join the counter-offensive, an AFP photographer said.
The LNA said its forces had advanced into the outskirts of the capital, seat of the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), and taken its former global airport.
Footage circulating online showed two apparent U.S. Navy transport craft manoeuvring off a beach in Janzour, east of Tripoli, sending up plumes of spray as American forces were ferried from the shore.
The UN has declared that the gathering will go on as planned.
"We want to reassure Libyans that we will stay alongside the Libyan people to make the political process a success without resorting to escalation".
The UN Envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, speaks during a news conference in Tripoli, Libya, April 6, 2019.
Both countries have provided support to Gen Haftar.
The UN Security Council has called on Haftar´s forces to halt their advance, warning it was putting Libya´s shaky stability at further risk.
"We are determined" to hold the talks, he said. The LNA backs a parallel administration in the east that has emerged as a major rival to that in Tripoli.