Dozens killed in latest bombing of Libyan military academy
London, Jan. 5, 2020 (AltAfrica)-At least 28 people have been killed in an attack on a military academy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, the government’s health minister said.
Tripoli, which is under the control of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), is facing an offensive by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) that began in April.
There has been an increase in air strikes and shelling around Tripoli in recent weeks, with fears that fighting could escalate further after Turkey’s parliament voted to allow a troop deployment in support of the GNA.
Forces allied with the GNA described Saturday’s attack on the military camp at Al-Hadhba as “an aerial bombing” launched by their eastern rivals. An LNA spokesman denied involvement.
Hamid bin Omar, health minister for the GNA, told Reuters in a phone call that the number of dead and wounded was still rising. Tripoli ambulance service spokesman Osama Ali said some body parts could not be immediately counted by forensic experts.
Earlier, the ambulance service appealed for a temporary ceasefire to allow its members to retrieve the bodies of five civilians killed in an area south of central Tripoli, and evacuate families living there
Emergency teams withdrew after coming under fire while trying to access the area on Saturday, it added.
An increase in air strikes and shelling in and around Tripoli has caused the deaths of at least 11 civilians since early December and shut down health facilities and schools, the United Nations mission in Libya said on Friday.
Rockets and shelling also shut down Tripoli’s only functioning airport on Friday.
The UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire in Libya on Friday, warning that the delivery of foreign support to warring parties would “only deepen the ongoing conflict and further complicate efforts to reach a peaceful and comprehensive political solution”.
Libya’s eastern-based parliament, which relocated from Tripoli in 2014 as the country split into rival camps in Tripoli and the east, voted to provide Haftar with emergency funding on Saturday.
The pro-Haftar chamber also held a series of symbolic votes against the GNA and Turkey, which struck two pacts on maritime boundaries and military cooperation in November.
Saudi Arabia condemned the Turkish parliament’s approval of a troop deployment to Libya, and considers it a violation of UN security council decisions, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday to the state news agency SPA.
The statement added that “the kingdom affirms that this Turkish escalation poses a threat to the security and stability in Libya and a threat to Arab and regional security, as it is an interference in the internal affairs of an Arab country in flagrant violation of international principles and covenants”.