TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Withered bombing rocked Tripoli on Sunday as forces east of Khalifa Haftar fought overnight for new territories in the southern suburbs after recently losing ground around the city.
Damage reported after bombing of Tripoli’s Mitiga airport in Tripoli, Libya, on May 10, 2020. REUTERS / Ismail Zitouny
Adding to the misery of Tripoli residents, the main water supplier in northwest Libya said armed men in the south had stormed one of its facilities, thereby reducing supplies.
“My father said that we should be ready to leave at any time … last night’s fighting was more intense than ever before,” said a resident in the Abu Salim district, near a security line. forehead.
“We would leave to survive, but where could we go?” … we will be on the street. It’s hopeless, ”added the resident by phone.
Haftar’s National Libyan Army (LNA) has been trying to capture Tripoli for 13 months, but Turkish military aid this year to the internationally recognized National Accord Government (GNA) has helped it regain ground.
The LNA, supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, announced a new air campaign last week, but most of the bombing since then has been carried out by artillery.
Last month, pro-GNA forces took over a chain of cities in the northwest of the LNA, restoring control between Tripoli and the Tunisian border.
They also attempted twice to capture the LNA’s strategic al-Watiya air base, but were repulsed and made their way to the main northwestern stronghold of the LNA, Tarhouna.
An ANL military source said on Saturday evening that the fighting has been the most violent so far. Eastern forces briefly gained ground in Abu Salim.
Tripoli residents describe bombing as worst so far after weeks of fighting as GNA attempts to end Haftar’s campaign to capture the capital and push its forces out of the artillery’s range .
Mitiga, the only operating airport in the Libyan capital, was hit by rockets for a second day after bombing destroyed fuel tanks and shrapnel on Saturday through a passenger plane in preparation for takeoff.
The UN mission in Libya condemned what it called “indiscriminate attacks”, which it said were mainly attributable to pro-LNA forces. He said last month that the ANL was responsible for four-fifths of civilian deaths in the first quarter of 2020.
Turkey said on Sunday that it will consider Haftar’s forces as “legitimate targets” if the attacks on his interests continue.
Water pressure in Tripoli was already starting to drop on Sunday afternoon after the Great Man-Made River Project, the main water utility, said one of its power plants in the south had been taken out of service. assault by armed men.
Ahmed al-Deeb, head of his western region committee, said the men had cut electricity due to a shortage of cooking gas and lack of cash at local banks, and that the former tribes negotiated with them to restore the current.
The state-run National Oil Corporation said last week that it was carrying out work to supply cooking gas from the main oil field in Sharara.
Reportage By Tripoli newsroom, written by Angus McDowall in Tunis; Editing by Toby Chopra