Chaos in Libya: Clashes in Capital Tripoli Kill Nearly 200 People
Fighting over the weekend in southern Tripoli killed 187 people and injured over 1,000, according to a spokesperson for Libya’s Ministry of Health. Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army five weeks ago launched an offensive to retake the capital from the internationally recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj. However, Haftar’s forces have faced fiercer resistance than expected from various armed factions loyal to Serraj, delaying what many thought would be an easy conquest. Haftar was a general in the army of former strongman Moammar Qaddafi, who was deposed and killed in an uprising in 2011. Since then, Haftar, who is backed by Middle East countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has rejected efforts by the United Nations to forge a power-sharing agreement as he does not view Serraj as a legitimate leader. Meanwhile, Haftar claims his ongoing assault is necessary to restore order to Libya by eliminating “terrorists.” Last week, the UAE’s foreign minister tweeted that “extremist militias continue to control [the] capital [Tripoli] and derail [the] search for [a] political solution.” Based on previous assessments by the World Health Organization in Libya, fighting in Tripoli and its outskirts has killed a total of 575 people over the past month, wounded another 3,000 and displaced an estimated 50,000 civilians.