Haftar’s Forces Kill Several in Mortar Attacks Despite Humanitarian Pause

Tripoli on March 23, 2020 Tripoli on March 23, 2020 Anadolu Agency

24 March 2020

Onslaughts by Haftar’s forces continue in Tripoli

In Libya’s capital of Tripoli, attacks by renegade military commander Haftar’s forces have killed at least five civilians and wounded six. Mortar shells launched by the eastern-based forces hit homes in Tripoli’s southern suburbs, killing a 42-year-old woman and her nephew according to the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) health ministry spokesperson, Amin al Hashemi. 

The UN-recognized GNA added that two migrant workers were killed and one Libyan citizen was wounded near the capital’s Mitiga airport. Stray shells led to the death of a 20-year old woman in Tripoli’s Tajoura neighborhood. 

The reports follow a recent commitment by both parties to halt all fighting so authorities could focus on preventative measures against the coronavirus. On 21 March, on behalf of Haftar’s forces, spokesperson Ahmed al-Mismari stated that his side agreed to the ceasefire proposal by the United Nations and European countries given the spread of the coronavirus.

At the time of this article, no cases have been reported in Libya. Public health officials fear that Libya, which has been undergoing a civil war for nine years following a NATO-backed uprising, will decimate the country’s already depleted medical supplies and devastated infrastructure. 

The UN's humanitarian coordinator for Libya Yacoub El Hillo stated on Sunday that the "timing could not be worse" for the coronavirus. He further called for a "complete cessation of hostilities" so health officials could prepare. 

Attacks by Haftar’s militias backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates against the internationally recognized GNA in Tripoli have continued. Since April of 2019, these assaults have hit the GNA in Tripoli hard, resulting in a death toll of well over 1,000 people, one that only rises with the continued conflict. 



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Author: Rachel Warner; Editor: Teagan Foti 

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