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Libyan Airstrikes Focus on Misrata Steel Plant

  • Reuters

Firefighters work to put out a fire at a storage oil tank in the port of Es Sider, Jan. 2, 2015.

Firefighters work to put out a fire at a storage oil tank in the port of Es Sider, Jan. 2, 2015.

Forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government on Sunday launched airstrikes on the country's biggest steel plant at Misrata, officials said, hitting the western city allied to a rival group for a second consecutive day.

Turkish Airlines, the only foreign airline still flying to Libya, canceled a flight from Misrata to Istanbul, according to the website of Istanbul airport. The airline could not be immediately reached for comment.

The recognized Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni has been forced to run a rump state in the east since a group known as Libya Dawn linked to Misrata took control of Tripoli last August and set up a rival government.

Mohamed Abdelmalik al-Faqih, chairman of the Libyan Iron and Steel Company (Lisco), said war planes hit the plant's perimeter and a wall near a company training center at around 11 a.m. local time.

A state news agency loyal to the rival Tripoli government said a plane had also tried attacking an air force academy near the civilian airport but fired its rockets early after coming under anti-aircraft fire, missing its targets.

A spokesman for forces allied to Thinni confirmed airstrikes on Misrata, without giving details.

Since Moammer Gadhafi was ousted in 2011, Libya has failed to attain stability. Former rebel brigades that once fought side by side have now turned on each other, aligning themselves with rival political factions in a scramble for control.

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