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Thousands displaced as Libyan conflict intensifies; Libyan Army and Haftar’s LNA rebels engage in aerial conflict near capital Tripoli

Tripoli: The battle has intensified between the Army, loyal to the Libyan government and the Libyan National Army (LNA) rebels, led by the military official General Khalifa Haftar. The Haftar’s LNA rebels have reached at a distance of just 11 kilometres from the Libyan capital of Tripoli and have initiated air strikes on the capital. Although the Libyan military has retaliated against the rebel attacks, the ordinary people trapped in the conflict are leaving the city to save their lives. Currently, 4,500 civilians have been displaced so far, and the United Nations (UN) fears the number may rise further if the conflict continued.

The LNA marched towards and arrived at the capital Tripoli under the leadership of the renegade General Khalifa Haftar. The conflict ongoing for the last few days claimed the lives of 21 people. Just two days ago, the LNA fighter jets had carried out attacks on the only International airport in the capital Tripoli and took control of it. The air attacks damaged the airstrip and the surrounding areas. Nevertheless, as there were no passenger aeroplanes on the airstrip, no casualties were reported. The troops loyal to Prime Minister Seraj wrested the control back from the rebels within a matter of a few hours. However, airport services were suspended due to the attacks while the people were left terrified.

People of Tripoli are deserting the city out of fear, and the UN informed that nearly 4,500 residents had fled from the city. Nevertheless, the UN has voiced concerns stating that the population of Tripoli was almost 1.2 million and the conflict between the Libyan government and the LNA rebels threatened the security of hundreds of thousands of civilians. In an area close to Tripoli, an air conflict has sparked between the Libyan Army and the insurgents, claim locals. If the battle is not controlled soon, hundreds of thousands will leave Tripoli, and it will lead to a significant crisis, the United Nations warned.

Following the conflict, the United Nations has showered severe criticism on the LNA chief renegade General Haftar. The rebels have committed a ‘War Crime’ by attacking the civilian airport, the UN accused. Moreover, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to General Haftar to stop the conflict, after stating that the rebel attacks would not be tolerated. France too has declared support to the Seraj government in the Libyan conflict.

Meanwhile, General Haftar has dismissed the orders despite the UN appeal. Additionally, Haftar has threatened to take over the oil terminals near Tripoli in the next few hours.

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