The death toll in the airstrike that targetted a military school academy in Libya's capital of Tripoli rises to 28. Preliminary reports suggest that the attack was carried out by Gen Khalifa Haftar's rebel forces. Libya's government has been fighting an insurgency which is being led by Gen Haftar who is based in eastern Libya.
According to a spokesperson from the Libyan health Ministry, the airstrike took place in the Hadaba area, just south of the city centre on Saturday, January 4. Fighting has been raging there for months. The fighting between the forces of the internationally recognised government of Libya and the forces led by Gen Haftar has been battling in Tripoli since April.
The fighting escalated after Haftar declared a “final” and decisive battle for the capital after Tripoli authorities signed a military and maritime agreements with Turkey, whose parliament authorized the deployment of troops to Libya. As per reports, the Libyan government has publicly blamed the Libyan National Army for the attack.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on January 3 called again for an immediate ceasefire in Libya and a return to political dialogue by all parties. Farhan Haq, the Deputy Spokesman for Antonio Guterres said in a statement that “any foreign support to the warring parties will only deepen the ongoing conflict and further complicate efforts to reach a peaceful and comprehensive political solution.”
Guterres’ comments followed Thursday’s authorization by Turkey’s parliament to deploy troops to Libya to support the UN-backed government in Tripoli that is battling forces loyal to a rival government seeking to capture the capital.
Last month, UN experts said the interference of Chadian and Sudanese fighters in Libya is “a direct threat” to the security and stability of the war-torn country. They also noted that a leader of the Islamic State extremist group has declared Libya “one of the main axes” of its future operations.