Libyan Official Says 2 Killed, 5 Wounded in Tripoli Shelling

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CAIRO (AP) — A woman and a child were killed and another five children were wounded by artillery shelling in Tripoli from eastern forces seeking to capture the capital from the U.N.-backed government there, a Libyan official said Thursday.

Libya has been divided between two rival governments since 2015, one in the east and another in the West. Last year, troops loyal to commander Khalifa Hifter, who is allied with the eastern government, launched an offensive on Tripoli.

A 5-year-old boy was killed and his three siblings were severely wounded when their house was shelled in Tripoli’s Tariq al-Soor neighborhood late Wednesday, Amin al-Hashemi, Health Ministry spokesman with the Tripoli-based government, said.

In a separate shelling, a 66-year-old woman was killed and another two children were wounded in the Abu Salim neighborhood.

“It was a bloody night, Grad-launchers and random missiles have hit several neighborhoods in Tripoli,” al-Hashemi said.

The fighting over Tripoli has intensified in recent days despite U.N. calls for a cease-fire to allow authorities to focus on curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Libya has so far recorded 48 virus cases, including one fatality. The pandemic could possibly devastate war-torn Libya, where a decade-long conflict has ravaged key infrastructure and created dire medical shortages.

Earlier this week, forces allied with the Tripoli-based government made significant advances by gaining control of Sabrata, a key town that served as a base for troops loyal to Hifter.

Hifter’s march on the capital has so far resulted in a military stalemate, killed hundreds of civilians and displaced tens of thousands.



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