WORLD Air raids on Libya's capital: witnesses

WORLD

Air raids on Libya's capital: witnesses

AFP

02:27, April 29, 2019

Air raids were carried out Saturday night on the Libyan capital Tripoli, according to AFP journalists and residents who heard loud explosions.

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Fighters loyal to the internationally recognised Government of National Accord have been engaged in battle with fighters under commander Khalifa Haftar on April 25, 2019. (Photo: AFP)

The exact locations of the strikes were not known, but the roar of airplanes over the city was accompanied by heavy explosions between 11.00 pm and midnight.

"We are hearing sustained, uninterrupted fire" from machine guns and anti-aircraft guns "and occasional air strikes, but we do not know where exactly," a resident of west Tripoli told AFP.

"On Facebook, users are saying that you must leave your house if you live near a barracks or a place where armed groups have taken position," she added. "But we are afraid to go out into the street so late at night."

Forces loyal to the UN-recognised government of national unity and fighters under commander Khalifa Haftar, have been engaged in battle for three weeks.

Haftar's forces launched an offensive on April 4 to seize the capital.

After forces loyal to the Tripoli-based government of national unity launched a counter-attack last weekend, the International Committee for the Red Cross warned that residential areas of Tripoli were being turned into battlefields.

At least 278 people have been killed and more than 1,300 wounded in the clashes, according to the World Health Organization.

More than 35,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.

Most of the fighting happens on the ground, but there are occasional air raids.

Tripoli claims Haftar's forces have killed and displaced civilians, destroyed property, recruited child soldiers and used heavy artillery and Grad missiles on populated areas.

It has asked the UN to investigate.

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