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Tensions Rise In Libya: LNA Shot Down Turkish Drone Off Sirte Coast

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The Libyan National Army (LNA) announced early on July 23 that it had shot down a Turkish drone near the city of Sirte.

In a short statement, the army said that the drone was targeted by air-defense systems while flying over the western coast of the city.

Earlier this month, at least one Pantsir-S1 short-range air-defense system was deployed by the LNA in Sirte. A report by al-Arabiya also claimed that Egyptian BUK-M and S-300 medium and long-range systems were protecting the city.

Tensions Rise In Libya: LNA Shot Down Turkish Drone Off Sirte Coast

Click to see full-size map. Source: (@Suriyakmaps) on Twitter, Via Google Maps – TerraMetrics

Forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) have been amassing west of Sirte for a while. The GNA and its main ally, Turkey, are reportedly preparing for a large-scale offensive to take control over the city and its oil-export port.

Egypt warned against any attack on Sirte. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi stressed that the city and al-Jufra Air Base, to the south, were a red line for the Egyptian military.

Despite the Egyptian warning, the GNA is apparently still determined to attack the city. The downing of a Turkish drone near the city is an indication of a close Turkish-backed attack.

Any attack on Sirte will definitely provoke a serious military confrontation. Egypt may not target Turkish troops in western Libya. However, GNA forces will face the full power of the Egyptian military and possibly other  LNA supporters such as the UAE.

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