Over 120 killed, almost 600 wounded in Libya fighting

  • Over 120 killed, almost 600 wounded in Libya fighting

Over 120 killed, almost 600 wounded in Libya fighting

The self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, launched a surprise offensive against Tripoli on April 5 and is battling rival militias loosely affiliated with a weak United Nations -backed government.

"The president (Sisi) affirmed Egypt's support in efforts to fight terrorism and extremist militias to achieve security and stability for Libyan citizens throughout the country", according to a statement by the Egyptian president's office.

Gen Haftar is widely thought to have modelled his muscular leadership style on Egypt's Sisi, himself an army general turned president whose rule is defined by his opposition to and zero tolerance towards political Islam.

Members of Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Haftar get ready before heading out of Benghazi to reinforce the troops advancing to Tripoli, in Benghazi, Libya, April 13, 2019. It did not specify whether they were fighters or civilians.

Fighting near Tripoli has killed 121 people and wounded 561 since strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive earlier this month to take the Libyan capital, the World Health Organisation said Sunday.

Haftar has defied worldwide calls to halt his battle against fighters loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli.

The spike in violence has marked an escalation of the conflict, which has been ongoing since 2011, when protests led to the ouster of then-leader Muammar Gaddafi.

WHO's Libya account said on Twitter the organisation was sending medical supplies and more staff to Tripoli, while denouncing "repeated attacks on health care workers, vehicles" during the fighting which began on 4 April.

The UN said on Sunday that a school was bombed in Ain Zara southwest of Tripoli, without saying who was responsible. Both sides have carried our airstrikes in the town, and a spokesman for the Libyan National Army said it has stepped up airstrikes on its rivals in the past two days.