World News

Over 120 killed in battle for Tripoli, says WHO

Over 120 killed in battle for Tripoli, says WHO

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.

The self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, launched a surprise offensive against Tripoli on April 5 and is battling rival militias loosely affiliated with a weak United Nations -backed government.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday met in Cairo with Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar who is under intense worldwide pressure to halt an advance on the capital Tripoli.

During the past week, Eastern-based Libyan forces led by Haftar have been advancing in a push to seize the capital, Tripoli, but troops loyal to Prime Minister Fayez Al-Serraj's internationally recognized government have so far kept them at bay.

Instead, Haftar met on Sunday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo.

The UN's humanitarian co-ordination office said on Saturday that three medical personnel had been killed and that shrapnel had put five ambulances out of action.

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

Gen Haftar, was exiled in the United States for two decades and is a USA citizen.

More than 13,500 people had been displaced by the clashes, including 4,000 in the past 24 hours, and more than 900 residents are living in shelters, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Saturday.

One air strike the GNA blamed on Haftar's forces hit a school in Ain Zara, south of Tripoli, which has been the scene of violent clashes for days.

"The humanitarian community repeats its warning that continuing to attack medical and civilian facilities is a violation of worldwide humanitarian law and human rights law", OCHA said in a statement".

"The mission is monitoring and documenting all acts of war that violate this law in order to brief the Security Council and the International Criminal Court", the statement added. On the LNA's side, spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari said the attacking forces were also "moving forward on all fronts". But analysts believe the campaign on the capital of a UN-backed government could potentially reignite large-sale fighting among the country's rival powers and undermine worldwide efforts to reunite the fractured North African nation.


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