Libya: Unity Forces Block Anti-Normalization Protests in Tripoli

Tripoli residents protest against Najla Mangoush’s meeting with Eli Cohen in Rome (AFP)
Tripoli residents protest against Najla Mangoush’s meeting with Eli Cohen in Rome (AFP)
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Libya: Unity Forces Block Anti-Normalization Protests in Tripoli

Tripoli residents protest against Najla Mangoush’s meeting with Eli Cohen in Rome (AFP)
Tripoli residents protest against Najla Mangoush’s meeting with Eli Cohen in Rome (AFP)

The interim Libyan Government of National Unity (GNU), headed by Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, prevented a group of protesters from the city of Zawiya from entering Tripoli to join the widespread protests after a meeting between Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush and her Israeli counterpart, Eli Cohen, in Italy.

The unity government neither denied nor confirmed reports that the dismissed minister arrived in Madrid, Spain, after fleeing the country.

Mangoush was temporarily suspended from her position over the reported meeting.

In a leaked audio message, the Interior Minister, Emad Trabelsi, informed Dbeibeh that all anti-government protests have been put to an end.

Trabelsi pointed out that the deployment of Interior Ministry forces in the capital over the past two days had not happened since 2011, since the popular uprising that toppled the regime of the late Muammar Gaddafi.

He claimed that all state institutions were secured without firing a single shot.

The Zawiya protesters accused a Public Security force, led by Trabelsi, of blocking the road to Tripoli and assaulting them.

Eyewitnesses said that late on Tuesday, government security forces blocked the road in western Tripoli on protesters coming from the city of Zawiya demanding the overthrow of the Dbeibeh government. They requested protection from the Zawiya brigades.

Several Zawiya youth called on residents of neighboring regions to join them in their march, which they began Tuesday evening to overthrow the government and called on its military leaders to protect them.

Mahmoud Hamza, the commander of the “444th Brigade” of the Dbeibeh government, ignored the youth’s request for protection against local government forces and asked them to return to their areas.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Committee confirmed that security and military units affiliated with the unity government fired random shots to disperse the protests in several areas in the capital last Sunday and Monday.

The Committee revealed in a statement that several protesters had been arrested without legal procedures, saying the Interior Ministry is fully responsible for ensuring the safety of the demonstrators, and called on the Public Prosecutor to investigate these incidents.

Dbeibeh ignored the developments and appeared at a family wedding in his hometown of Misrata, along with some ministers.

Local media accused the Dbeibeh family of “deliberately provoking the Libyans” by broadcasting video clips of the ceremony, saying they were squandering people’s money and ignoring the popular uprising calling for the government’s dismissal.

Meanwhile, the former Chairman of the High Council of State, Khalid al-Mishri, said that the Dbeibeh cabinet would do anything to remain in position, noting that he had received information that several figures affiliated with the government made efforts to communicate with Israeli intelligence.

However Mishri indicated that he could not take a political position based on leaked information because they lacked evidence.

Furthermore, the Speaker, Aguila Saleh, announced a categorical rejection of any attempts at normalizing diplomatic ties with Israel.

Saleh denounced during a phone call with the President of the Palestinian National Council, Rawhi Fattouh, the outrageous attempts at normalization, extending an invitation to Fattouh to visit Libya.

Special Envoy of the French President to Libya, Paul Soler, affirmed France’s support for Libya’s sovereignty and the mediation efforts of Ambassador Abdallah Batelli, aiming to hold presidential and legislative elections as soon as possible.

Head of the Presidential Council Mohamed Menfi announced that he had received a French invitation to participate in a meeting at the peace conference in Paris next November.

During a meeting with Soler, Menfi stressed the Council’s endeavor to end the transitional stages through transparent elections, with the participation of all Libyans.



WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
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WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that many people in Gaza were facing "catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions".

"A significant proportion of Gaza's population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food."

Tedros said there were more than 8,000 children under five years old who have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 children with severe acute malnutrition.

"However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilization centers for severely malnourished patients can operate," he added.

"Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of malnourished children."

The war in Gaza began on Oct. 7 when fighters led by Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 250 hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's response has caused the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gazan health ministry, displaced most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million and caused widespread hunger and destruction.

A UN inquiry on Wednesday found that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes early in the Gaza war, and that Israel's actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses.

Tedros also highlighted a separate health crisis in the West Bank, where he said healthcare had been targeted by nearly 500 attacks since Oct. 7.

"While the world's focus has been on Gaza, there is also an escalating health crisis in the West Bank, where attacks on healthcare and restrictions on movement of people are obstructing access to health services," he said.

"In most areas of the West Bank, clinics are only operating two days a week and hospitals are operating at about 70% capacity."