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Turkey 'mobilising major Libya offensive' to secure Tripoli as warlord Haftar loyalists target coronavirus hospital Open in fullscreen

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Turkey 'mobilising major Libya offensive' to secure Tripoli as warlord Haftar loyalists target coronavirus hospital

Haftar's militia were blamed for another Tripoli hospital attack earlier in April [Anadolu Agency]

Date of publication: 21 April, 2020

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Haftar forces shelled another hospital after a weekend press conference ousting an alleged Turkish plan to mobilise attacks in Libya.
Forces loyal to Libya's renegade commander Khalifa Haftar said over the weekend that Turkey is planning an 'attack' in Libya, and shortly after struck a hospital injuring at least five medics.

Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesperson Major General Ahmed Al-Mismari said Turkey was sending military personnel and equipment to Libya, according to a Monday report.

The LNA claimed it has information on Turkey's plan to carry out a massive 'attack' on Libya’s Tarhuna city – just 65km from the capital.

Mismari said the Haftar forces would retaliate in Libya, triggering concerns for more bloodshed in the war-torn country. 

"We [will] fight the Turkish Army on land, sea and air," he warned. 

Haftar – who has been recruiting thousands of African mercenaries, mainly from Chad and Sudan, to fight in his ranks – also accused Turkey of "exploiting" the coronavirus pandemic to mobilise against LNA's rival, the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

Since Hafter's forces launched their offensive on the Libyan capital in April, both the LNA and the GNA have reiterated accusations that the other was deploying foreign forces in the ongoing civil war.

Following the weekend LNA press conference, the GNA-led Burkan Al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) recorded new advancements by Haftar's militia on Monday.

The Libyan group said Haftar's forces targetted two field hospitals in their shelling of Tripoli's Wadi al Rabie, injuring at least five health workers. 

Read also: UAE firms 'violated' UN Libya embargo and shipped 11,000 tonnes jet fuel to Haftar: reports

Haftar has repeatedly violated international humanitarian laws, targetting medical workers and hospitals. 

Earlier in the month, the UN released a statement condemning the targeting of a coronavirus-designated hospital in Tripoli, but did not name the group responsible.

The attack – which Libyan rights groups and activists said was carried out by the LNA – targeted the Al-Khadra General Hospital, which houses 400 beds and was designated as a potential coronavirus treatment centre.

"In light of its ongoing criminal record targetting ambulances, medical teams and hospitals, the Haftar terrorist militia has just now targeted Al-Khadra Hospital," the pro-GNA rights observer said at the time.

Libya has confirmed 51 total coronavirus infections, and has recorded one death resulting from infection. The virus has infected over 2.4 million globally as of Tuesday.

  
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