Forces affiliated with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli claimed to have destroyed an advanced air defense system on Tuesday, July 7, in an airstrike on alleged foreign forces in the central Jufra district. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) strike is reported to have hit a Russian-made Pantsir S-2 (SA-22 Greyhound) type system in the Hamam Project area of Sawknah, killing several nearby fighters as well as destroying the vehicle. Unconfirmed reports suggest that three of those killed were Russian private military contractors (PMCs).
Further airstrikes are likely in the Jufra region in the near term.
The Jufra district has long been a stronghold for Libyan National Army (LNA) forces in the center of the country, hosting a major airbase used by foreign military aircraft in support of the rival eastern-based government. However, recent advances by pro-GNA forces following the LNA retreat from Tripoli in May have seen control of the region increasingly contested.
Tuesday's incident followed a previous airstrike by pro-GNA forces on June 26 targeting the nearby Al-Jufra airbase in which several LNA linked military aircraft and UAVs were damaged.
The security environment in Libya remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas (with appropriate security protocols in place), other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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