Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

LNA Breaches GNA Defenses in Southern Tripoli

LNA Breaches GNA Defenses in Southern Tripoli

Tuesday, 28 May, 2019 - 06:00
Men walk in front of Rexos hotel damaged by a rocket in Tripoli, Libya May 24, 2019. (Reuters)
Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud

The Libyan National Army (LNA) announced on Monday that its forces had breached for the first time the defenses of the Government of National Accord in southern Tripoli.

LNA media released images of what it said were the first moments of the breach of neighborhoods near Tripoli International Airport.

“They have been cleansed of terrorist militias,” it said.

LNA jets also carried out strikes against pro-GNA positions in southern and western Tripoli.

Saraj al-Majbri, an aide to the LNA's chief of staff, said its forces have also made gains in the area of Salaheddine, a few kilometers from the city center, reported The Associated Press.

The LNA had launched on April 4 an offensive against the capital to rid it of terrorist and criminal gangs that are affiliated with the GNA of Fayez al-Sarraj.

The fighting has killed at least 562 people, including 40 civilians, a UN agency said Monday. It added that among the killed, were two health workers, when shelling hit their ambulance cars south of Tripoli on Thursday.

The GNA claimed that the LNA had struck residential areas. A military official in the LNA refuted the claims to Asharq Al-Awsat. He instead accused the militias of seeking to incite the locals against the army.

Moreover, the GNA’s Interior Ministry alleged that terrorists were among the LNA forces marching on Tripoli. It revealed that it will take up the issue before the United Nations Security Council and European Union, accusing the LNA of committing war crimes.

It said that its security forces have arrested several ISIS members in recent months.

Separately, the UN mission in Libya expressed its grave concern over the kidnapping of a member of the Higher Council of State.

Mohammed Abu Ghamga was kidnapped last week from his home town of Qasr Ben Ghashir, some 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) south of the capital, after it was seized by the LNA. The UN mission accused the LNA of kidnapping Abu Ghamga, a charge denied by its media office.

The mission “is also concerned regarding the airstrike on the Rexos compound in Tripoli, a civilian facility located in a high populated area that has been used by members of the House of Representatives for meetings. Shelling civilian targets and the kidnapping of civilians including political actors sends a worryingly anti-democratic message,” it said in a statement.

The mission is working with parties on the ground to acquire the evidence necessary to prosecute all of those proved to have been involved in these violations and all other incidents against the civilian population and civilian infrastructure, it added.

The mission “calls once again for all those arbitrarily detained and abducted to be immediately released, and reminds all parties to the conflict of their obligations under the International Humanitarian Law and the International Human Rights Law.”

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