Two killed in shelling at displaced people’s shelter in Tripoli

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Shelling killed two people on Saturday at a displaced people’s shelter in a part of the Libyan capital Tripoli that has been under bombardment by eastern forces seeking to capture the city, the emergency services said.

The shelling caused a fire at the shelter in Fornaj district, located near a frontline and home to people forced from their homes after earlier bouts of fighting, said Usama Ali, spokesman for Tripoli's emergency and ambulance service.

Ali said the emergency services were attempting to evacuate the shelter of the remaining displaced people and relocate them elsewhere in the city, Ali said. People in the Fornaj shelter were mostly from the nearby Ain Zara district.

Read more: Turkish Petroleum seeking exploration permit in Libya, likely to stoke tensions

The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive 13 months ago to capture Tripoli, seat of the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is recognized by the United Nations.

Police officers stand guard in the town of Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border, in Tunisia on April 16, 2019.  (Reuters)
Police officers stand guard in the town of Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border, in Tunisia on April 16, 2019. (Reuters)

The United Nations said last month that four fifths of civilian casualties in Libya's civil war during the first three months of 2020 were attributable to the LNA, which is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.

The GNA has this year put the LNA onto the back foot with new help from Turkey, pushing it out of a string of towns west of Tripoli and putting it under pressure in its northwestern strongholds of Tarhouna and al-Watiya airbase.

Read more: Libyan National Army shoots down Turkish drone near al-Watiya airbase

Turkish support for the GNA has been most effective through its deployment of anti-aircraft defences, and with its drones that have hammered LNA efforts to resupply the northwest battlefronts from the east.

On Saturday, the LNA said it had destroyed a Turkish drone at al-Watiya. The GNA said it had destroyed a Russian-supplied anti-aircraft system at the same location, though an LNA spokesman denied that.

The fighting in and around Tripoli has added to terrible conditions for residents, who this week faced long power and water cuts during a fierce spike in temperatures.

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