BENGHAZI, Libya Dec 26 Forces loyal to Libya's
eastern government said they had carried out an air strike
against opponents in the central Jufra region on Monday.
Ahmed al-Mismari, a spokesman for the eastern-based Libyan
National Army (LNA), said the strike had targeted a camp used by
the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB), a force that the LNA has
previously clashed with.
The LNA and the BDB are on opposite sides of a conflict in
which two loose and shifting alliances have battled for power in
Libya since 2014, aligning themselves with rival governments in
Tripoli and the east.
In recent months the LNA, led by Field Marshall Khalifa
Haftar, has made military gains in Benghazi and Libya's Oil
Crescent region, provoking several attempted counter-attacks by
"This was a pre-emptive strike against militias that are
mobilising for an attack against the Libyan army," Mismari said.
There was no immediate comment from the BDB.
Images from the oasis town of Houn posted on local media
sites showed thick smoke rising close to residential buildings.
No casualties were reported.
The LNA carried out air strikes this month to repel what it
said was an attempt to recapture Oil Crescent ports it took
control of in September. Shortly afterwards, it launched strikes
against opponents at a military base in Jufra.
The strikes have raised fears of a new escalation in Libya's
conflict. A U.N.-backed government in Tripoli has so far failed
to reconcile Libya's warring factions.
(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; writing by Aidan Lewis;
editing by David Clarke)