Battles in Libya escalate as coronavirus outbreak arrives

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Violence escalated round Libya’s capital, Tripoli, hours after the nation reported its first case of coronavirus and regardless of United Nations requires a world ceasefire in the course of the epidemic.

Residents of Tripoli, the seat of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), mentioned the bombardment was the worst in weeks. The rival Libyan National Army (LNA) of warlord Khalifa Haftar has been making an attempt to seize Tripoli since final April, backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia. The GNA is supported by Turkey and allied Syrian fighters.

Both sides agreed to a ceasefire to deal with the coronavirus. On March 17, the UN and 9 international locations collectively referred to as on each factions to stop hostilities to permit authorities deal with the unfold of the virus.

“In response to the heaviest bombardments Tripoli has seen, we launched a series of counterattacks against Haftar”, a spokesman for the Libyan overseas affairs ministry mentioned. A LNA spokesman mentioned it repulsed the assault and the GNA fielded Turkish and Syrian fighters. “The truce was not put into effect” by the pro-GNA forces, he added.

On Monday, UN chief Antonio Guterres referred to as for a world ceasefire to guard civilians in battle zones in the course of the pandemic. He warned that if the combating goes on, we’d have an “completely devastating spreading of the epidemic”.

On Tuesday, the well being minister of the GNA authorities, confirmed the nation’s “first contamination”, a person who had arrived from Saudi Arabia through Tunisia on March 5.