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Dozens of civilians are killed as violence continues in Derna, Libya

June 5, 2018 at 11:20 am

The northeastern Libyan city of Derna is witnessing violent outbreaks between the city’s Protection Force and the Karama Forces led by Khalifa Haftar in the latter’s attempt to move forward and control several neighbourhoods in the last remaining opposition stronghold in eastern Libya.

According to local Libyan media, the Karama Forces are bombing residential areas with the support of the controlled Emirati Air Force, which targeted a number of sites in the centre of the country.

The same sources reported the disruption of Libyana and Almadar Aljadid mobile network operators in the city.

Libyan TV channel Alnabaa quoted a source from Tobruk Medical Centre confirming the arrival of more than five injured members of Karama Forces to the centre due to the violence.

Yet the operations room of the Special Forces of the army commander Khalifa Haftar announced its troops had advanced across the city of Derna.

The same sources reported that Haftar’s forces are completely controlling the two areas of the eastern coast and Bab Tobruk.

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Spokesman of the Special Forces Colonel Miloud Zaoui told Libyan newspaper Al-Wasat that he had asserted his forces’ control over Al-Saiqa Camp, also known as Deguch Camp, in which terrorist groups were based in the western gate of the city of Derna.

The escalation comes as Karama Forces, backed by UAE air strikes, continued to storm Derna as they had for more than a month, killing dozens of civilians and injuring a number of residents.

A month ago armed confrontations broke out between Haftar’s forces and the Derna Protection Force (formerly the Mujahideen of Derna Shura Council), in the vicinity of the city. This resulted in deaths and injuries from both sides, while Haftar’s forces announced their advance towards the outskirts of Derna.

Since 3 May Derna has been witnessing armed confrontations between Haftar’s forces – which have besieged the city for four years – and the Derna Protection Force.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report last week that violence in the Libyan city of Derna had reached unprecedented levels with air strikes and bombing in residential areas.

OCHA added that the area is suffering from a severe shortage of drinking water, food and medicine, and that electricity and water have been completely cut off for the approximately 125,000 residents.

Derna constitutes the last major stronghold in eastern Libya for the opponents of Haftar’s forces, who are fighting for legitimacy and power with the internationally backed Government of National Accord, based in the capital Tripoli.