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 Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid