Monday, 20 May, 2019

Air strikes and explosions hit Libyan capital

The UN Security Council was divided Wednesday on how to address the crisis in Libya The UN Security Council was divided Wednesday on how to address the crisis in Libya
Deanna Wagner | 22 April, 2019, 16:14

A self-styled Libyan army slowed down its push on the country's capital over concerns for civilians caught up in the violence as the United Nations refugee agency said Monday that the fighting for Tripoli has displaced more than 32,000 people.

"In the past week, WHO Libya specialized emergency medical teams in frontline hospitals handled 89 major and 63 surgeries".

"Behind the scenes there's no doubt about the fact they've supported the (Libyan National Army) with all kinds of equipment, people, training and the like and they've supported Haftar, who has moved now from the east to the west and essentially has taking a lot of real estate to get into a good position for leverage for diplomatic talks", Waldhauser told the House Armed Services Committee.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since long-serving leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a bloody NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Reuters was unable to confirm whether an aircraft or unmanned drone was behind the strike which triggered heavy anti aircraft fire.

The World Health Organisation said on late Friday that 1,066 others have been wounded since the self-styled Libyan National Army launched an offensive on April 5 to take Tripoli.

Forces loyal to Libya's UN-recognised government have put up strong resistance.

Soon after the announcement, the residents said they heard rocket and artillery fire in several districts of the capital Tripoli.

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The Libyan civilian aviation authority has closed Tripoli's Mitiga Airport amid residents' reports of an airstrike on the city.

LNA Commander Khalifa Haftar ordered on April 4 an offensive to retake Tripoli from the GNA forces, referring to the need to clear the city of terrorist forces.

The GNA counter-attack put pro-government forces back in control of Ain Zara, in the southern suburbs of Tripoli, where an AFP team confirmed pro-GNA forces had advanced, shifting the front line a few kilometres south.

Fighting over Tripoli spiked after the White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump spoke to Haftar on Monday.

The spokesman said, militias allied with the UN-supported government launched airstrikes on the Alwatya air base.

The disclosure of the call and a US statement that it "recognized Field Marshal Haftar's significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources" has boosted the commander's supporters and enraged his opponents.

On Thursday, Russia and the United States opposed a British bid backed by France and Germany at the UN Security Council to demand a ceasefire in the North African country.

Both sides claimed progress in southern Tripoli on Saturday, but no more details were immediately available.