Toll in Libya shelling of anti-peace deal rally hits 12

Updated 25 October 2015
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Toll in Libya shelling of anti-peace deal rally hits 12

TRIPOLI: The death toll for the shelling of a rally in Libya’s second city Benghazi protesting against a UN-proposed peace deal has jumped to 12, medics said.
At least 12 people died and 39 were wounded after a volley of shells hit the rally attended by hundreds of people, the LANA news agency close to the internationally recognized Libyan government reported Saturday.
Those present were demonstrating against a proposed power-sharing deal put forward by Libya’s UN envoy, Bernardino Leon.
On their Facebook pages, the Benghazi Medical Center announced eight dead, while the city’s Al-Jalaa hospital announced four had died. Medics initially said five people were killed.
There was no immediate word on who was behind the shelling.
On Oct. 8, after almost a year of arduous negotiations, Leon put forward a list of names to head a power-sharing government, but both sides rejected the proposed appointments.
Friday’s shelling came two days after Leon insisted he would press on with efforts to clinch a political deal.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) condemned the attack.
“UNSMIL calls on Libyans to reject violence as a means to settle political differences and stresses that peaceful expression of political views is one of the basic rights in a free society,” it said.
A unity government in Libya is seen as the best chance to tackle the rise there of Daesh and migrant-smuggling from Libya across the Mediterranean to Europe.
“Only through unity can terrorism be confronted and violence brought to an end,” UNSMIL added.
Fayez El-Serraj, a member of the internationally recognized Parliament who has been put forward as prime minister in the latest proposal for a unity government, agreed.
“We need to work to overcome our political differences to stand up, hand in hand... against terrorism,” he said.
The Tripoli authorities also condemned the attack, calling it a “criminal and terrorist act carried out by those who have been cracking down on Benghazi for a year and a half.”
The UN last month accused the army of Libya’s internationally recognized government of deliberately trying to sabotage the peace talks with a new offensive in Benghazi.


Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

Updated 20 July 2019
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Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

  • The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh
  • This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory”

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s military said Saturday its troops in partnership with security agencies and paramilitary forces launched the second phase of an operation aimed at clearing remnants of the Daesh group from north of Baghdad and surrounding areas.
This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory,” which started two weeks earlier and targeted the area along the border with Syria. The military said the new target area is north of Baghdad and in the Diyala, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces.
Although Iraq declared victory against Daesh in July 2017, the extremists have turned into an insurgency and continue to carry out deadly attacks in the country.
The military said Iraqi troops, Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, the federal police and others are taking part in the operation supported by the Iraqis and the U.S-led international coalition.
On Saturday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi visited the operation room alongside the deputy head of the PMF, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi government moved to place the Iranian-backed militias under the command of the armed forces. The move was believed to be an attempt to curb the powerful militias, particularly amid rising tension between Iran and the US, the power brokers in Iraq.
The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh and are a significant political force, with government ministers and 48 seats in the 329-member parliament.