World, Middle East

Libya: Attacks give gov’t ‘no choice but to respond’

Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj criticizes international community for staying silent on warlord Haftar's attacks

10.05.2020
Libya: Attacks give gov’t ‘no choice but to respond’

By Ibrahim al-Hazin and Walid Abdullah

TRIPOLI

Attacks by renegade commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces left the Libyan government "no choice but to respond," according to a statement from by the prime ministry's press office.

Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj criticized the international community for staying silent in the face of the attacks.

"The insane attacks carried out by the war criminal Haftar against the capital Tripoli these days are a sign that he was despaired as a result of his successive defeats and that he was nearing the end of his bloody project, which he carried out to take over the administration. The terrible crimes committed by Haftar leave us no choice but to respond with an iron claw by using all our means," said al-Sarraj.

Haftar, the leader of illegal armed forces in eastern Libya, have intensified attacks on civilians since the beginning of May as government forces recently gained the advantage and inflicted severe losses on his militants.

The government has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence. It launched Operation Peace Storm on March 26 to counter attacks on the capital.

Following the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya's government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led political deal.

Libyan army targets Haftar militias

The army targeted Haftar militias in southern Tripoli, Mustafa al-Majai, spokesman for the government's Burkan Al-Ghadab, or Volcano of Rage operation, told Anadolu Agency.

He said clashes resumed after the army attacked Haftar's militias stationed in the Salahaddin region in southern Tripoli.

The army targeted points where the militias launched rocket attacks on civilian settlements in Tripoli during the day, he said, and a vehicle loaded with 2 Grad missile batteries belonging to the militia was destroyed in camp Yarmouk in the south of the city.

Meanwhile, witnesses said there were intense clashes in the Abu Salim and al-Hadba regions south of the capital, and they have seen light traces of the ammunition and heard violent explosions in Tripoli.

At least six civilians were killed in rocket attacks by Haftar's militia at the Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli, according to the government Saturday.

Parliament's call to UNSC to urgently convene

Parliament urged the UN Security Council (UNSC) to urgently convene Saturday to stop attacks by Haftar-affiliated militias.

Lawmakers demanded the UN and UNSC make decisions to protect civilians from attacks on their lives and property, and said the Council should fulfill its responsibility to protect civilians.

Parliament accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of supporting Haftar and said the UAE "does not care that Libyans are sacrificed."

Haftar's militias are supported by France, Russia, the UAE and Egypt.


* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara

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