Sunday, 9 Aug 2020

Tripoli attack toll hits 30 as battle escalates

The death toll from an airstrike that slammed into a military facility in Libya’s capital climbed to at least 30 people, most of them military trainees, as fighting over control of Tripoli between rival armed groups escalated.

Eastern Libyan forces led by General Khalifa Hifter launched an offensive in April to take the capital from the weak, but UN-supported government. Libya is governed by rival authorities in the east and in Tripoli in the west, with each relying on different militias.

The airstrike hit a military academy used by the Tripoli-allied militias late on Saturday in the Hadaba area, just south of the city centre. Fighting and shelling between the two sides has been raging for months in the area.

The UN-supported Libyan government in Tripoli blamed the airstrike on General Hifter’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA).

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A spokesman for the LNA, Ahmed al-Mesmari, denied launching airstrikes on the military academy, blaming the attack on Islamic militants.

General Hifter has declared a “final” and decisive battle for the capital. That followed a military and maritime agreement Tripoli authorities signed with their ally Turkey calling for the deployment of Turkish troops to Libya.

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