Air raids in Libyan capital kill five: Ministry

AFP , Monday 2 Dec 2019

At least five civilians were killed and 10 wounded in overnight air strikes in a suburb of Libya's capital, the unity government's health ministry said on Monday.

"Violent air raids on the residential area of al-Swani killed five civilians and injured 10 others, some of them seriously," said spokesman Amin al-Hashemi.

Hashemi reported major damage after the strikes on al-Swani, some 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of central Tripoli. He said there was no military infrastructure in the area.

Tripoli has seen months of deadly fighting since eastern-based military strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an April offensive to seize the capital from armed groups backing the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

The GNA said "Emirati drones" backing Haftar had carried out the overnight strikes, saying a woman and a child were among the dead.

Spokesman Mohammad Gnounou said unmanned Emirati aircraft had also carried out two raids on a bridge west of Tripoli.

The United Arab Emirates has backed Haftar in his campaign against pro-GNA groups, which Haftar's forces refer to as "terrorists".

Haftar's self-style Libyan National Army has not yet claimed the overnight strikes.

Since the fall and killing of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011 in a NATO-backed uprising, Libya has been torn apart by violence between multiple armed groups, many of them backed by foreign powers.

At least 200 civilians and more than 2,000 fighters have been killed since the start of Haftar's assault on Tripoli, according to the United Nations. The fighting has also displaced some 146,000 people.

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