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
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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.


Israel clears Palestinians from Jerusalem home claimed by settlers

Updated 17 February 2019
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Israel clears Palestinians from Jerusalem home claimed by settlers

  • Residents of the neighborhood in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem scuffled with police, who stood guard as about a dozen Israeli settlers took possession of the large building

JERUSALEM: Israeli police on Sunday evicted a Palestinian family from their home in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, after the supreme court ruled Jewish claimants were the rightful owners.
An AFP photographer said residents of the neighborhood in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem scuffled with police, who stood guard as about a dozen Israeli settlers took possession of the large building.
A police spokesman said two people were detained.
“They disturbed police activities,” he told AFP but could not say if they were subsequently released.
Rania Abu Asab, who lived in the house with her husband, their children and his aunt, stood weeping outside as the settlers raised the Israeli flag on the roof.
“We live there, it’s my house, it’s my whole life,” she said. “They took everything.”
She said the family was compelled to leave behind all its furniture and belongings.
Ir Amim, an Israeli watchdog group which monitors settlement activity in Jerusalem, reported on February 3 that the Abu Asab family had been served an eviction notice ordering them to vacate the property by February 12.
It said family members had lived there since the 1960s.
Israeli NGO Peace Now said the home originally belonged to a Jewish family which fled during the 1948 war which accompanied Israel’s foundation.
East Jerusalem was occupied during that conflict by Jordan until the 1967 Six-Day War, when it was seized by Israel and subsequently annexed, moves never recognized by the international community.
The Abu Asab family lived until 1948 in a neighborhood it fled before eventually moving to the home in question.
Peace Now said in a statement Sunday that under an Israeli law passed in 1950 Palestinians cannot return to homes they fled in 1948.
A 1970 act, however, decreed that property in east Jerusalem abandoned by Jewish owners could be reclaimed.
“The court granted the settlers the house and the Abu Asab family became refugees for the second time,” Peace Now said.