Thousands flee Libya as clashes escalate

Posted by News Express | 8 April 2019 | 730 times

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•Libyan rebel leader, Gen Khalifa Haftar

At least 2,800 people have fled from the fighting near Libya’s capital, Tripoli, according to the UN. 

Other civilians are trapped by the clashes and are cut off from vital emergency services, it says. 

Forces under Gen Khalifa Haftar began an attack on the city last Thursday with aim of wresting it from Libya’s UN-backed government.

Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj has accused Gen Haftar of attempting a coup and says rebels will be met with force.

On Monday there was an air strike at Tripoli’s only functioning airport, Matiga. Reports indicate it was carried out by forces loyal to Gen Haftar but there was no confirmation.

One warplane hit militia targets based at the airport, an eyewitness told the BBC, adding that there were no reports of casualties.

Passengers were seen evacuating the terminal shortly after as the airport announced online it was closing, Reuters news agency reports.

Libya has been torn by violence, political instability and power struggles since long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011.

International powers started evacuating personnel from the country in recent days.

What is the latest on clashes?

The ministry of public health said on Monday at least 25 people had been killed and 80 wounded, including both civilians and soldiers. Earlier reports had given a higher figure.

Earlier the UN appealed for a two-hour truce so casualties and civilians could be evacuated, but fighting continued.

In response, the EU and several countries including the US and Russia called for an end to hostilities.

“This unilateral military campaign against Tripoli is endangering civilians and undermining prospects for a better future for all Libyans,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

UN-backed talks were scheduled for 14-16 April to discuss a roadmap for new elections. It is unclear if these will still take place.

•Excerpted from a BBC report.


Source: News Express

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