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UN condemns latest clashes in Libya's Tripoli

April 17, 2019 at 9:30 pm

People attend a protest against Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar’s offensive to seize Tripoli, on 12 April 2019. ( Hazem Turkia – Anadolu Agency )

The United Nations on Wednesday described the latest series of rocket fire in Libya’s capital Tripoli as the “heaviest fighting” since the outbreak began, and strongly condemned the shelling, Anadolu reports.

A barrage of shells struck the Abu Salim neighborhood and districts of Algrarat and Salahuddin in the capital late Tuesday.

The attacks came amid fighting since commander Khalifa Haftar, a military leader vying to consolidate power over the entire country, launched a military campaign earlier this month to capture Tripoli, where the UN-recognized government is based.

“Tripoli witnessed the heaviest fighting since the outbreak of the clashes with indiscriminate rocket fire on a high density neighborhood in the Libyan capital,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said at a news conference at the UN headquarters.

While Dujarric echoed reports that at least five civilians were killed in the clashes, the Abu Salim local council reported a sixth death.

The spokesman also mentioned the remarks of the UN Secretary General’s special representative in Libya, Ghassan Salame, who condemned the attacks in “the strongest terms”.

READ: 18,000 displaced people due to Haftar forces’ attack on Tripoli 

“Responsibility for actions that may constitute to war crimes now lies not only with the individuals who committed the indiscriminate attacks, but also potentially with those who ordered them,” Dujarric said in relaying Salame’s statement.

“In the past 24 hours, we have also seen the highest single day increase in displacement with more than 4,500 displaced,” he added.

The total number of people that have been displaced due to the conflict is now around 25,000.

Since the 2011 ouster of late strongman Muammar Gaddafi, two seats of power have emerged Libya: one in the east led by Haftar, and a UN-recognized one in Tripoli.

On Monday, the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) said at least 76 people, including 24 civilians, had been killed since clashes erupted in Tripoli environs.

The GNA accused East Libya-based forces led by Haftar of carrying out the attacks.