Bombs kill 7 in shelter for displaced in Libya

Firefighters battle blaze following attack on Mitiga airport in Libya’s capital Tripoli. (AFP/File)
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Updated 18 May 2020

Bombs kill 7 in shelter for displaced in Libya

  • Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war toppled and later killed long-time ruler Muammar Qaddafi

CAIRO: Bombs hit a shelter for displaced people in Libya’s capital Tripoli, killing at least seven people including a 5-year-old child from Bangladesh, health authorities said on Sunday.
The shelling of the facility in the city’s Furnaj district late on Saturday also wounded at least 17 people, including a 52-year-old Bengali migrant and his 5-year-old child, Malek Merset, a spokesman for the capital’s ambulance services, said. The man is also the father of the dead child.
It was the latest attack on civilians in the fighting over Tripoli between eastern-based forces under military commander Khalifa Haftar and an array of militias loosely allied with the UN-supported but weak government in the capital. A fire broke out in parts of the shelter housing people displaced by previous clashes in Tripoli, Merset said.
The ambulance services did not say which side was responsible for the shelling. The Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF), led by Haftar, launched an offensive to take Tripoli in April last year. In recent weeks, the fighting has intensified as foreign backers of the two sides stepped up their military support.
Haftar is backed by France and Russia, as well some countries in the Middle East. The Tripoli-allied militias are aided by Turkey, which deployed troops and mercenaries to help shore up their allies earlier this year, as well as by Italy and Qatar. Mercenaries, mainly from the Syria battlefield, are now fighting on both sides and complicating an already complex proxy war.
Earlier this year, Tripoli-allied militias took several western towns from Haftar’s forces and stepped up their attacks using drones supplied by Turkey on a key military base and the town of Tarhuna.
Haftar’s LAAF said on Saturday it shot down a Turkish drone that was trying to attack the Al-Watiya Air Base. The Tripoli-allied militias claimed they destroyed a Russian-made anti-aircraft system, a claim dismissed by the LAAF.
Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war toppled and later killed long-time ruler Muammar Qaddafi. The country has since split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each backed by armed groups and foreign countries.
The Tripoli fighting has threatened to push Libya into a major conflagration on the scale of the 2011 civil war.

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