By Mucahit Aydemir
ANKARA (AA) - The Libyan army announced Saturday it launched five airstrikes on Sirte, soon after it indicated the liberation of the city is its new goal after Tarhuna.
The government's Burkan Al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) Operation said the strikes targeted armored vehicles provided by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and militias loyal to renegade Gen. Khalifa Haftar.
The escape of militias and mercenaries in "a great panic" was reported in Sirte that has been under occupation by Haftar forces. Prominent residents offered to peacefully hand the city to government forces, according to a statement.
Following the liberation of Tripoli, the army on Friday liberated the strategic city of Tarhuna -- the last stronghold of Haftar in western Libya.
After Tarhuna, the army announced its goal is Sirte, Al-Jufra and oil fields in the south.
Libya's internationally recognized government has been under attack by Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.
The government launched Operation Peace Storm in March to counter attacks on the capital and recently regained strategic locations, including the Al-Watiya airbase and Tarhuna, which is viewed as a significant blow to Haftar's forces.