Artillery shells rain on centre of Libyan capital

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Libyan boys check a damaged car after a shell fell on a residential area at Hadba al-Badri district, in Tripoli, Libya January 28, 2020. Tripoli was shelled again February 11, 2020. — Reuters pic
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Libyan boys check a damaged car after a shell fell on a residential area at Hadba al-Badri district, in Tripoli, Libya January 28, 2020. Tripoli was shelled again February 11, 2020. — Reuters pic

TRIPOLI, Feb 12 — Artillery shells yesterday hit the centre of the Libyan capital, which eastern forces have been trying to take in a near year-long war, residents said.

The Libyan National army (LNA) faction of Khalifa Haftar moved on Tripoli held by the internationally recognised government in April, failing to breach defences in southern suburbs but increasingly dragging civilians into the conflict.

Shells landed late at night in the central Nouflin and Souq al-Jumaa districts, which had been mostly spared so far from the conflict, a Reuters reporter said.

Parts of the capital were plunged in darkness as power failed. The electricity grid has been often hit.

There was no immediate word on casualties from authorities and no more details available. The war has displaced some 150,000 people, according to the United Nations.

Haftar is backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Jordan, Sudanese and Chadian fighters as well as and most recently, Russian mercenaries. France has also given some support.

That has prompted Turkey to come to the aid of Tripoli Premier Fayez al-Serraj by sending troops to Tripoli. Up to 2,000 fighters from Syria's civil war have also joined the battle to defend the capital, a UN official said last month.

Both sides held ceasefire talks last week in Geneva but have repeatedly blamed each other for daily violations of a shaky truce declared a month a go. — Reuters

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