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Libya’s Sarraj Vows to Prosecute Haftar as LNA Accuses Militias of Targeting Civilians

Libya’s Sarraj Vows to Prosecute Haftar as LNA Accuses Militias of Targeting Civilians

Tuesday, 16 April, 2019 - 06:00
The inside of a house damaged by shelling during the fighting between the LNA and pro-Sarraj forces is pictured in Abu Salim in Tripoli, Libya April 15, 2019. (Reuters)

Head of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj vowed on Monday to prosecute Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar over his operation against Tripoli.

He met in the capital with military prosecutor Fathi Saeed to discuss arrest warrants against everyone involved in the attack on Tripoli and several Libyan cities. He also was briefed on the measures to document crimes and violations of human rights during the operation.

The Tripoli-based Foreign Ministry confirmed that it has started to take criminal procedures against any individuals involved in the attack on the capital.

It called on the international community to intervene to rein in the LNA, accusing it of allegedly “arbitrarily striking residential areas”.

Haftar had launched the operation to cleanse Tripoli of terrorist gangs on April 4.

The Foreign Ministry also revealed that it had received what it called confirmed reports that terrorists had infiltrated Tripoli, urging the military and security forces to remain vigilant to any suspicious activity.

Moreover, it refuted all LNA reports about the operation, saying they were baseless and part of a propaganda campaign that alleges that those defending Tripoli were terrorists.

It denied LNA allegations that terrorist groups were fighting in the GNA ranks, saying such claims were aimed at influencing the public opinion.

“All of our forces are subject to the orders of the GNA and its military commanders in the central and western regions and in Tripoli,” said the ministry. “They all operate under Sarraj, the high commander of the Libyan army.”

Sarraj’s deputy, Ahmed Maiteeq, meanwhile held talks in Rome on Monday with Foreign Minister Enzo Milanesi on what he described as attacks by hostile outlaws against Tripoli.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stressed the need for an “immediate ceasefire” in Libya, hoping the LNA would withdraw its forces from southern Tripoli, reported Italy’s AKI news agency.

On the ground, LNA media accused the Ghneiwa militias, located in the Hamza base on the airport road, of launching grad rockets at Tripoli’s al-Akwakh and Zuhour neighborhoods.

It also released videos of the destruction of a house that was struck by GNA planes that had taken off from the western Misrata airport.

The Misrata militias have resumed their attacks with barrel bombs against civilians in the Souk al-Khamis neighborhood, it added. The attack left a mother and daughter dead, while the rest of their family was in critical condition.

The LNA vowed to avenge the dead, saying that the retaliation to the attack will be severe.

The World Health Organization said Monday that at least 146 people have been killed and 614 wounded since the beginning of the march on Tripoli. It did not specify whether those killed and wounded were civilians or fighters.

The UN said more than 13,500 people have been displaced.

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