Libya government fears Haftar prepping new push on Tripoli

Khalifa Haftar
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Libya’s UN-recognised government said Saturday it feared forces led by strongman Khalifa Haftar were prepping a new “military escalation” in their months-long push to take Tripoli. Deadly fighting has rocked the capital’s outskirts since Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army launched an offensive on 4 April to take the city from the Government of National Accord (GNA).

The GNA said on its Facebook page it was “concerned over reports, confirmed by the UN and the media, on preparations for a new military escalation.”

The United Nations mission in Libya said in a tweet Saturday that it was “doing its outmost with all local and foreign actors to avoid military escalation and to ensure protection of civilians.”

Videos circulated on social media in recent days, some by a pro-Haftar television channel, show columns of LNA military vehicles trucking towards the south of the capital. The footage could not be independently verified.

Haftar’s campaign to wrestle Tripoli from pro-GNA forces has left nearly 1 093 people dead; including 106 civilians, and over 5 750 wounded, according to the UN’s World Health Organization.

The fighting has also forced more than 100 000 people to flee their homes.