More than 120 killed as Libya's rivals battle for Tripoli

Lester Mason
April 15, 2019

The north African country has been in turmoil since the NATO-backed overthrow of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, which has led to the creation of a bewildering array of militias all seeking to take control.

Last week, military commander Khalifa Haftar, affiliated with a government based in eastern Libya, launched a campaign to capture the capital Tripoli, where Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) is based.

Both sides have launched daily air raids and accuse each other of targeting civilians.

"The humanitarian community is concerned about rising numbers of civilian casualties, including medical personnel", OCHA Libya said.

That happened as the strongman met in Cairo with key backer Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who pledged support for "efforts to fight terrorism and extremist militias to achieve security and stability. throughout the country", Sisi's office said. No details were release.

With more than 560 people wounded since the fighting started on April 4, World Health Organization said it was sending more medical supplies and staff to Tripoli.

In another, earlier tweet, it denounced "repeated attacks on health care workers, vehicles" during the fighting, which began on April 5.

While some pro-Haftar media had predicted a quick victory, Tripoli government forces have halted him about 11km (7 miles) from the centre near an airport that was largely destroyed in a previous bout of fighting five years ago.

His Libyan National Army has pushed from his power base in the country's east towards the Libyan capital in the west, which is the seat of the unity government led by Fayez Al Sarraj.

Haftar's forces have been leading an offensive since 4 April in different southern Tripoli frontlines in an attempt to enter the capital, however they are being opposed by the Libyan Army forces which is under the command of the Presidential Council, the Libyan Observer reports.

Earlier this week, the United Nations said the fighting had displaced more than 8,000 people.

"UNSMIL warns that the bombing of schools, hospitals, ambulances and civilian areas is strictly prohibited by International Humanitarian Law", the Mission said in a statement.

On Saturday, the Tripoli-based Interior Minister of the Presidential Council's government Fathi Bashagha accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of reportedly sending Haftar military support in "clear violation of the worldwide law".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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