Clashes intensified between Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, and forces of Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, despite the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) calls for a humanitarian truce that enables authorities to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic.
Military sources and local residents said that violent battles erupted on several axes inside Tripoli between the two parties. But Ain Zara suburb, south of the capital, had the largest share as LNA forces continue to try to infiltrate the defenses of the armed militias.
LNA spokesperson, Major General Ahmed al-Mismari, said that battles continue in and around Tripoli, explaining that his forces were able to eliminate terrorists wanted by the army.
Mismari said, in his first media appearance via a video after he was quarantined, that he does not have any symptoms of the virus, urging people to ignore rumors.
Meanwhile, GNA forces spokesman announced that they succeeded in thwarting an LNA infiltration in Ain Zara, which resulted in the death of 10 individuals, and the arrest of a number of other “mercenaries”.
He explained in a statement that the forces thwarted several attempts of LNA forces to advance during this week, which prompted them to randomly target neighborhoods.
The spokesman indicated that the shelling killed four women, injured others, and led to a new wave of displacement, especially in Ain Zara. He called upon GNA forces to take the utmost care in dealing with the prisoners, dead bodies, and vehicles to avoid contracting the Coronavirus.
French Press Agency (AFP) quoted a spokesman for the GNA’s Ministry of Health as saying that random and violent shelling targeted several neighborhoods in the capital, killing five women and injuring five others sustaining various injuries.
LNA sources did not comment on GNA’s accusations of bombing residential neighborhoods and civilians.
Meanwhile, UNSMIL denounced the death of four young women and girls aged between 14-20 killed, and five others, including an 11-year-old child, were injured in a senseless indiscriminate shelling affecting a civilian neighborhood in Ain Zara.
The missions issued a statement saying it was appalled by this bloody attack, which comes hours after the international calls for a humanitarian pause, and reiterates “its strong condemnation of such indiscriminate attacks affecting civilians and renews its call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.”
The Mission extended its deepest condolences to the family of victims and wished a speedy recovery for the injured.
In other news, LNA military units deployed in the cities and areas under its control, including the eastern city of Benghazi, to implement Haftar’s decision to impose a curfew as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the pandemic.
Military Media Unit issued a statement saying that the deployment came in response to the extreme emergency situation and instructions to impose a curfew, noting that these units were equipped and trained on performing this important task. It also indicated that they were accompanied by heath units to provide the necessary support in case of need.