Heavy fighting raged in the Libyan capital yesterday as eastern forces made a new push to advance inside the city controlled by the internationally recognized government, like reported by thedailystar.net.
Libyan eastern commander Khalifa Haftar has ruled out a ceasefire in the battle for Tripoli and accused the United Nations of seeking to partition Libya, according to an interview published by French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.
Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) began an offensive in early April to take Tripoli from fighters loyal to Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) which has the backing of the United Nations.
The LNA, which is allied to a parallel government in the east, has not been able to breach the southern defenses of Tripoli. The fighting has killed at least 510 people, forced 75,000 out of their homes and trapped thousands of migrants in detention centers.
“Of course, the political solution is still the goal. But to get back to politics, we must first finish with militias,” Haftar told the newspaper.
Haftar also said the head of UN mission to Libya, Ghassan Salame, was no longer impartial, reported Reuters.
“Partition of Libya is maybe what our adversaries want. This is maybe what Ghassan Salame also wants.”
Even though France and other Western countries officially back the Libyan government, some have supported Haftar as they see him as a bulwark against Islamist militias in the country.
More than 75,000 people have been driven from their homes in the latest fighting and 510 have been killed, according to the World Health Organization, reported AFP.
More than 2,400 have also been wounded, while 100,000 people are feared trapped by the clashes raging on the outskirts of Tripoli.
Two Libyan journalists held by an armed group for more than three weeks have been released, the television channel they work for said Saturday.
“We congratulate the press world for the release of our two colleagues, Mohamad al-Gurj and Mohamad al-Chibani, who were kidnapped by Haftar’s forces on May 2 while they were covering the assault on Tripoli,” said the private channel Libya al-Ahrar, which is based in Turkey.