Libya's UN-backed government calls airport airstrike a 'war crime'

Libya's UN-backed government calls airport airstrike a 'war crime'

Libya's UN-backed government calls airport airstrike a 'war crime'

Gen Khalifa Haftar, who leads the Libyan National Army (LNA) from a stronghold in the east, declared an offensive to take control of Tripoli from Libya's UN-backed government last week.

A spokesman for the Tripoli-based Health Ministry said fighting in the south of the capital had killed at least 25 people, including fighters and civilians, and wounded 80. He pointed out that 40 people have also been injured.

The government based in Tripoli now enjoys global recognition and some Western support, while the government in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk has benefited from the support of Egypt, the Saudis, and the United Arab Emirates.

The global body has also said its call for a humanitarian truce has been ignored and emergency services said they had not been able to enter the areas where fighting was taking place. Tripoli's other main airport, the Tripoli International Airport, was forced to close in 2018 due to ongoing militia fighting. "Volcano of Anger" trapped Haftar's Al-Wadi Brigade in the city of Sabratha.

According to the report, the security situation in western Libya is still "unclear and unpredictable".

Maj. Gen. Mohamed al-Manfour of Hifter's Libyan National Army, told the Libyan Address newspaper they bombed targets at Mitiga after receiving information that the United Nations -backed government forces were preparing to target them.

The renewed conflict threatens to disrupt oil supplies, boost migration across the Mediterranean to Europe and scupper United Nations plans for an election to end rivalries between parallel administrations in east and west.

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They are fighting on the southern side of the city, where witnesses said on Monday afternoon the LNA had lost control of a former airport and withdrawn down the road.

The government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj is seeking to block the LNA with the help of allied armed groups who have rushed to Tripoli from Misrata in pickup trucks fitted with machine guns. Al-Sarraj's government said that 11 people were killed, without identifying from which side they were.

Serraj has run Tripoli since 2016 as part of a UN-brokered deal boycotted by Haftar.

The Libyan National Army, allied to a parallel government based in Benghazi in the east, controlled the oil-rich south of the country earlier in the year before its surprising and rapid advancement towards the coastal capital.

Fuqaha is controlled by fighters loyal to Haftar, who casts himself as a foe of Islamist extremism, though he is viewed by opponents as a new dictator in the mould of Gaddafi.

The violence has cast doubt on the United Nations plan to hold a conference from 14 to 16 April to arrange for the elections, as a way out of the ongoing chaos since Gaddafi's ousting under Western support eight years ago.

The UN mission to Libya called on Sunday for a truce for two hours in southern Tripoli to evacuate civilians and wounded, but it did not appear to have been heeded.

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