New fighting in Libya capital after truce collapses

Smoke rises during heavy clashes between rival factions in Tripoli, Libya, August 28, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 29 August 2018
0

New fighting in Libya capital after truce collapses

  • A military officer said there had been intermittent fighting in Tripoli’s southern suburbs
  • The Libyan capital has been at the center of a battle for influence between armed groups since Qaddafi's fall in 2011

TRIPOLI: Fresh fighting erupted in the Libyan capital on Wednesday after the collapse of a truce, a witness and military source said, after the UN called for calm.
A military officer with forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord said there had been intermittent fighting in Tripoli’s southern suburbs.
“A combined force from the ministry of defense and (ministry of) interior of the GNA led an offensive against positions of the 7th Brigade,” he said.
The militia had been trying to advance along the road to Tripoli’s international airport which has largely been closed since fighting in 2014.
The 7th Brigade supposedly operates under the GNA’s defense ministry.
But on Monday Interior Minister Abdessalam Ashour said security forces were fighting the militia, which hails from the town of Tarhuna southeast of Tripoli.
Those clashes left at least five people dead and 33 wounded, according to a health ministry toll, before a truce was reached in the evening.
Fighting resumed on Wednesday in the Salaheddin neighborhood of southern Tripoli, a resident said.
He reported machine guns and anti-aircraft guns being fired, which could be heard over the phone.
Overnight the UN Support Mission in Libya warned of attempts to “tamper with the security (of) Tripoli and its residents.”
“There is no justification for the bloodshed. UNSMIL calls on all to spare lives, stop military mobilization and allow for mediation,” the mission wrote on Twitter.
The UN’s plea followed reports that forces from the city of Misrata, 200 kilometers (124 miles) east of Tripoli, intended to head to the capital.
Powerful armed groups from Misrata spearheaded the “Fajr Libya” coalition of militias which seized Tripoli in 2014.
The Libyan capital has been at the center of a battle for influence between armed groups since dictator Muammar Qaddafi was ousted in 2011.


Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

Updated 19 July 2019
0

Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

  • Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil
  • Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is suspected to be involved in the killing

ANKARA: Turkey on Thursday launched an air attack on Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the killing of a Turkish diplomat in the region, the country’s defense minister said.
The Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil. Police sources said two other people were also killed.
There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting, but many Iraqi experts have pointed to the probability that the Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist group, was behind the attack.
“Following the evil attack in Irbil, we have launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil and dealt a heavy blow to the (PKK) terror organization,” defense minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Targets such as “armaments positions, lodgings, shelters and caves belonging to terrorists” were destroyed.
“Our fight against terror will continue with increasing determination until the last terrorist is neutralized and the blood of our martyrs will be avenged,” he added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which now leads the regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.
But Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign since May in the mountainous northern region to root out the PKK which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
Earlier this month, the PKK announced that one of those raids killed senior PKK leader Diyar Gharib Mohammed along with two other fighters.
A spokesman for the PKK’s armed branch denied the group was involved in Wednesday’s shooting.