The Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar, has said their forces targeted a Turkish cargo vessel that carried ammunition and weapons to the embattled port of Tripoli, where the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) is based.
“The Turkish ship loaded with weapons and ammunition that docked this morning at the port of Tripoli was destroyed,” read a short statement published by an LNA Facebook account on Feb. 18. The statement did not elaborate on the attack.
Turkish authorities have not yet commented on the incident.
U.N. Libya envoy Ghassan Salame confirmed that the Tripoli port was attacked, without giving additional details.
The U.N. envoy called the port attack a "big breach” of the ceasefire.
Pictures and videos that appeared on social media later in the day showed plumes of smoke billowing from the Tripoli harbor.
A Reuters reporter in Tripoli could see heavy smoke billowing from the port area. A port source said a warehouse had been hit, but no ship, according to various media outlets.
The current ceasefire was brokered by Russia and Turkey on Jan. 12. But both sides have repeatedly violated the truce, which was supposed to deescalate the fight for control of the Libyan capital.
Libya has been mired in chaos since 2011 when a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi. The country is now split into rival administrations in Tripoli and the east.
The GNA is backed by Turkey and, to a lesser degree, Qatar and Italy.
The LNA, which is backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, has been trying since last April to take Tripoli but has failed to breach the city's defenses.