Libya anti-government forces say it was targeted by an air strike
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Apr 07, 2019,
Apr 07, 2019, 0:30
The Libyan National Army, led by Khalifa Haftar, says it has now advanced into the southern outskirts of the capital Tripoli, where the United Nations -backed government is located. Former lawmaker Abdel-Raouf al-Manaei said the forces fighting under the umbrella of the Government of National Accord will not permit "a replica of el-Sissi military rule in Libya", in reference to the authoritarian Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, who is an army chief turned president.
The offensive by the LNA, which is allied to a parallel administration based in the eastern city of Benghazi, escalated a power struggle that has fractured the large, oil-producing country since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. However it said two of its soldiers had been wounded in clashes in a nearby area.
Since the toppling of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising, Libya has been divided between an array of armed groups.
Haftar, as the military leader in the east, may not have yet secured the level of militia support he expected inside Tripoli, but one source said alliances are shifting by the hour, with reports of violent incidents often exaggerated on social media. "Haftar is responding in his way to the lack of political power in Tripoli and he is being egged on by Russian advisers, who would like to strike a blow against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation", said the source.
Anti-government forces say they were targeted by a plane which had taken off from western Misrata..
Perhaps there could be personal sanctions directed against Haftar, perhaps efforts could be made to dry up the supply of weapons to the forces under his control, many of which come across the border from Egypt.
The assault coincided with a visit by Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, leaving in no doubt Haftar's disdain... Guterres had been in the capital this week to help organize a national reconciliation conference planned for later this month.
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GNA Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj issued three directives ordering GNA Military Region Commanders to raise alert levels, re-centralize their units, and use force and airstrikes to defend civilians and critical facilities against "terrorists, criminals, and those outside the legitimacy".
"The Department of Foreign Affairs is asking Filipinos in Tripoli to exercise extreme caution in view of the continuing tensions near the capital and specifically called on Filipinos living within a 100 kilometer radius of the Libyan capital to remain vigilant", the department said in a statement.
In addition to political and military chaos in Libya, there have also been reports of gross human rights violations there. "Any Libyan actor or faction that precipitates further civil conflict are harming innocent people and standing in the way of the peace that Libyans deserve", it added.
The U.N. Security Council on Friday also called on Haftar to halt his advance on Tripoli, warning the military move was putting Libya's stability at risk.
The appeal was unanimously backed by the council, including Russian Federation, which has previously supported the 75-year-old.
"They also called on all forces to de-escalate and halt military activity".