Three people killed as Haftar targets Tripoli diplomatic quarter
Three people were killed on Thursday night and four injured when forces loyal to rogue General Khalifa Haftar bombed the Zawiyat Al-Dahmani area of Tripoli, the Libyan Government of National Accord’s health ministry announced on Friday.
This area of Tripoli is home to several government buildings and embassies. Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala said that the bombing struck near the residences of the Turkish and Italian ambassadors on Tripoli’s coastal road, and called it as a violation of international law.
The Italian Foreign Ministry also condemned the attack. "These attacks are unacceptable and denote contempt for international law and human life," it said.
Both Turkey and Italy have expressed support for the GNA before, and Turkey has played an active role in Libya recently, providing the GNA with military aid. Haftar’s forces on the other hand have received support from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Russia.
Amin al-Hashemi, a spokesman for the GNA’s health ministry, said that the three people killed in Thursday night’s attack included two security guards and one civilian. Rockets also struck Mitiga Airport, Tripoli’s only functioning civilian airport, and the port of Tripoli.
On Wednesday, at least five people were killed and dozens wounded when Haftar’s forces bombed the Abu Salim and Tajoura areas of Tripoli. Haftar’s self-styled “Libyan National Army” began an assault to capture Tripoli in April 2019 but have recently suffered a series of military setbacks.
Al-Hashemi said that Wednesday’s bombing was the “first time since the beginning of 2020 that residential neighborhoods are that intensively targeted”.
The increase in the bombing of the capital appears to have been in response to the GNA’s recent advances in western Libya. Ahmad Masmari, a spokesman for Haftar’s “Libyan National Army” this week announced the beginning of a new operation called “The Birds of Ababil”, named after a chapter of the Quran.
With Turkish military support, GNA forces have recently captured a string of towns in western Libya from Haftar. This week, militias loyal to the GNA attacked the Watiya airbase southwest of Tripoli, a major hub for Haftar’s aerial attacks on the capital.
A GNA military spokesman said that six troops loyal to Haftar had surrendered to GNA forces at the Watiya base on Friday.