Fresh clashes in Libya despite UN ceasefire

A woman has been killed and four others have been wounded after forces loyal to eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar shelled parts of the Libyan capital, according to health officials.

Moustafa al-Mejii, a spokesperson for the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, said heavy fighting broke out on Thursday when Haftar’s troops launched a renewed push to enter the capital.

“Haftar’s militias tried to advance in the region of Machrou al-Hadhba, but our forces repelled the attack, al-Mejii was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

Amin al-Hachimi, a health ministry spokesperson, said the woman died after rockets fired by Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) struck residential neighbourhoods along the city’s southern outskirts. Four others were wounded in that attack. 

Meanwhile, witnesses said they heard explosions in Machrou al-Hadhba, a largely agricultural area located some 30km (18 miles) south of the city centre. 

The attack came despite a UN Security Council passing a resolution the previous day that called for a “lasting ceasefire”, in the war-wracked country. It was the first such motion to be approved since Haftar launched his assault on the GNA-controlled capital in April.

But its call for the consolidation of a fragile truce observed since January 12 has not taken effect on the ground.

Despite the truce, there has since been sporadic fighting almost every day near Tripoli.

Weapons have continued to flow into the country despite world leaders agreeing at a January summit to end all foreign interference in Libya and to uphold a UN arms embargo, imposed since 2011 when a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya has been mired in chaos ever since, with an array of armed groups linked to rival administrations vying for power, while foreign powers continue to intervene on both sides.

Russia has been accused of sending several thousand mercenaries from a private security company to support Haftar, accusations the Kremlin denies.

Other foreign players include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Jordan who have bolstered Haftar, while Turkey backs the GNA.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has slammed continued foreign interference in Libya as a “scandal”.


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