Libya: Rocket attack kills five, injures 25 on Tripoli beach; security forces and 'outlaw group' fight it out

Tripoli: A rocket hit a beach in Tripoli killing five people, including at least one child, and wounding 25 others, the Libyan health ministry said. The blast on Tuesday hit the beach in front of Mitiga airport in the east of the Libyan capital, the ministry statement said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

An interior ministry source said there were clashes inside the airport perimeter between security forces and an "outlawed" group.  The airport was badly damaged during fighting between rival militias in mid-2014.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, however could not say whether the attack on the civilians was intentional. Libya has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with rival authorities and militias battling for control of the oil-rich country.

The North African country has rival administrations, with the authorities in the east not recognising the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital. Heavy clashes erupted in the Tripoli on Friday, as armed groups aligned with the UN-backed government fought to fend off a major offensive by rival Islamist-leaning forces and militia fighters.

Loud explosions and heavy artillery fire could be heard across Tripoli from early Friday morning. At least 28 people were killed in the violence and more than 120 wounded, according to health officials.

The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) issued a statement blaming the attack on Khalifa Ghwell, the head of a self-declared, Islamist-leaning "national salvation government" that was set up in 2014, and Salah Badi, an allied militia leader.

It was unclear how much territory either side had gained. But late on Friday a spokesman for the judicial police said a GNA-aligned faction had gained control of the Al-Hadba prison, which holds several high profile inmates including one of former leader Muammar Gaddafi's sons and his military intelligence chief.

"Tomorrow we're going to move them to a safer place," said the spokesman, Ahmed Abu Kraa. Ghwell's government has been largely displaced by the GNA, which arrived in Tripoli last year, but it continues draw on armed support, especially from the western city of Misrata.


Updated Date: Jul 05, 2017 09:43 AM

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