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Libyan fighter jets strike militia targets
January 19, 2014, 5:43 am

The Libyan government has used fighter jets to combat rogue militia groups, marking the first time the air force has been used since Muammar Qaddafi was ousted from power.

Defence Ministry spokesman Abdul-Raziq al-Shabahi said air strikes were used to regain control of an air base in the country’s south after it was briefly seized by militia fighters.

“A force was readied, then aircraft moved and took off and dealt with the targets,” he told reporters in the capital Tripoli.

His statement came hours after Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said in a televised address that he had ordered the deployment of troops to regain control of the Tamahind air force base outside Sabha.

Libya has seen a resurgence of violence in recent months, partially due to lack of security along volatile borders and a failure of the government to rein in militia who fought against the former Qaddafi government.

Distrust between some of the southern and eastern tribes in addition to decades-long rivalries have also exacerbated the situation.

In mid-November, 45 people were killed in Tripoli, when a militia group opened fire on protesters who approached their headquarters demanding they leave the capital.

A militia spokesperson said that protesters were armed and fired first.

The fighting spread to the suburb town of Tajoura, where local militia clashed with fighters from the city of Misrata, 200km east of Tripoli.

Zeidan had called the killing of what he said were unarmed protesters a crime, and urged militia fighters to leave the capital.

Source: Agencies