News / Middle East

Libyan Militia Fire Rockets Into Affluent Tripoli Residential District

A man holds a weapon as another helps with the ammunition during fighting between rival militias around Tripoli international airport, Aug. 17, 2014.
A man holds a weapon as another helps with the ammunition during fighting between rival militias around Tripoli international airport, Aug. 17, 2014.
Reuters

Libyan militiamen fired rockets into an affluent district of Tripoli early on Tuesday, moving a battle with a rival armed faction closer to the center of the capital after fighters on one side came under air attack.

Rebel groups who united to topple Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 have since turned their guns on each other, spreading anarchy in oil-producing Libya and raising fears it may become a failed state destabilizing the wider North and West African region.

An air force controlled by renegade General Khalifa Haftar was responsible for strikes Monday on Islamist-leaning militia in Tripoli, one of his commanders said, after weeks of fighting for control of the capital and its airport.

Hours later after nightfall, unidentified militiamen fired Grad rockets into the Hay Andalus and Gargaresh districts, among the most well-to-do in Tripoli, killing three people, residents said. A health ministry official said he had no casualty figures.

The neighborhoods, home to the Libyan bourse, elegant cafes and foreign brand outlets such as Nike or Marks & Spencer, had been buzzing with shoppers until recently.

Shelling also could be heard in other parts of the Mediterranean coastal capital after a morning break on Tuesday, residents said. No more details were immediately available.

The air attacks escalated a struggle between Islamist and more moderate militias as well as between forces from different cities all vying for power and spoils in the OPEC-member nation.

Tripoli has largely slipped out of control of the government with senior officials working from Tobruk in the far east, where the new parliament has based itself to escape street fighting in Libya's two biggest cities Tripoli and Benghazi.

Public Insecurity

Libya's central government lacks a functioning national army and relies on militias for public security. But while militias get state salaries and wear uniforms, they report in practice to their own commanders and towns, such as Misrata or Zintan.

The situation in Tripoli has been exacerbated by a separate showdown between Haftar's forces and Islamist militia in the eastern port city Benghazi.

Explosions shook a Benghazi suburb where Haftar's forces and Islamists have been fighting since Monday, a Reuters reporter in the area said. Haftar and regular army forces have been trying to wrest back an army camp overran by Islamist militants earlier this month.

At least three people have been killed and eight wounded since Monday, according to a medic at a local hospital.

Neither the Zintan nor Misrata militia is believed to have warplanes, while the Libyan state's jet fighters were destroyed or damaged during the 2011 civil war in which NATO warplanes backed up the anti-Gadhafi uprising.

Western powers have said they had no role in Monday's air strikes.

Some Tripoli residents, fed up with daily factional fighting that has disrupted power and food supplies, hope that NATO will intervene again in Libya.

On Sunday, the United Nations Mission in Libya bemoaned the lack of response to “repeated international appeals and [our] own efforts for an immediate ceasefire.” The new U.N. special envoy, Bernardino Leon, is due to start his job on Sept. 1, but he said he might travel to Tripoli as early as this week.

 

 

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid