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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs