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Haftar’s Forces Bomb Central Tripoli Near Turkish, Italian Embassies

Shells landed near the Turkish and Italian embassies in Tripoli late on Thursday, officials of the embassies said, in an expansion of bombardment by the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar to a central district of the Libyan capital. Haftar’s forces have been bombarding Tripoli for months as part of a yearlong war to capture the city, causing 80% of the civilian deaths in the conflict this year, according to the United Nations. At least 131 civilians were killed or injured in the fighting in the first quarter of 2020, the UN has said. But Turkish military support for the internationally recognized Government of National Accord has helped to push the LNA back from several areas in recent weeks, threatening to end Haftar’s campaign in western Libya. The Turkish ambassador said that a Grad missile had struck the High Court building next to the embassy and another landed by the Foreign Ministry. Italy’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter that the area near around the Italian ambassador’s residence was hit, causing at least two deaths. “Italy strongly condemns yet another attack by Haftar forces,” it said. Shells also landed around the city’s port, where the United Nations migration agency had to abort an operation to disembark migrants who had been rescued at sea. Since 2014, Libya has been split between areas controlled by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord in Tripoli and the northwest, and territory held by Haftar’s eastern-based forces in Benghazi. A year ago, Haftar launched a war to take control of Tripoli and other parts of northwestern Libya.