Mercenaries arrived from Turkey to Libya’s Misrata, says LNA spokesperson

The spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA) has said that “a number of foreign terrorists and mercenaries” arrived on Friday at the country’s Misrata airport from Turkey.

“The terrorists arrived via the Libyan Wings Airline, owned by Islamist militant Abdelhakim Belhaj, to join Fayez al-Sarraj militias in their fights against the LNA,” Libyan Address Journal quoted Khalid Al-Mahjoub, spokesperson of the LNA's Tripoli Operations Room, as saying on Saturday.

The claim arrives amid a string of accusations against Turkey of funding and arming Islamist factions in Libya fighting on the side of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

Libya is split between the GNA and the Tobruk government, led by General Khalifa Haftar, the de facto ruler of eastern Libya and head of the LNA. Ankara backs the Islamist-rooted GNA, while the LNA, which is supported by Turkey’s regional rivals Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, accuses Turkey of funding and arming Islamist factions in Libya fighting on the side of the GNA.

Haftar's self-styled LNA on Monday targeted the construction site of a Turkish base in the vicinity of the Misrata Aerial College, London based pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported.  

An attack by the Tripoli government on the airfield in Jufra against commander Khalifa Haftar’s LNA forces on July 26 was carried out by Bayraktar aircraft owned and operated by Turkey, Bloomberg reported earlier this week.

Three unnamed senior GNA officials told Bloomberg that the Tripoli-based government received armed Turkish Bayraktar drones a short while ago.