At least two people have been killed in shelling in Tripoli, nearly two weeks into an assault on the Libyan capital by the Libyan National Army, led by Khalifa Haftar. Foreign powers have been unable to present a united front in the face of the latest violence in the country.
Haftar's LNA is stuck in the outskirts of Tripoli, to the south, battling armed groups loyal to the internationally-recognised Tripoli government. But people were killed in shelling in the southern district of Abu Salim on Tuesday, and explosions were heard even in the city centre. One official said two people were killed and eight wounded, another said four had been killed and 20 wounded.
Forces allied to Tripoli have accused the LNA of firing rockets into residential areas, but the LNA said in a statement it had nothing to with the shelling, and blamed it on a Tripoli-based group.
The true face of Libya's Khalifa Haftar
Haftar has declared he wants to seize the capital, now controlled by a UN-recognized government and an array of militias.
At least 174 people have been killed and more than 18,000 displaced since his forces started a march on Tripoli on 4 April, according to UN figures.
Foreign powers divided
Haftar is seen by allies as a bulwark against Islamists. He presents himself as a champion against terrorism, though opponents cast him as a would-be dictator.
Russia and France have praised Haftar's battlefield successes in defeating armed groups aligned with the Islamic State armed group in the south of Libya. French has been reluctant to back a recent European Union resolution urging Haftar to halt his advance.
Russia has raised objections to references criticizing Haftar in a draft UN Security Council resolution, which could be a hurdle for bringing the resolution to a vote before Friday. The Security Council held a first round of negotiations on Tuesday on a British-drafted resolution that would demand a ceasefire in Libya and call on all countries with influence over the warring parties to push for compliance.
Qatar, meanwhile, called for an existing UN arms embargo on Libya to be strictly enforced, to prevent Haftar from receiving arms. Haftar is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, who view him as a way to restore stability and fight Islamist militants. The three countries cut ties with Qatar in 2017, accusing it of support for militants and Iran.
Haftar's offensive on Tripoli has forced the UN to postpone a national conference that was to draw up a roadmap to elections. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that serious negotiations on Libya's future cannot resume without a ceasefire.
Read or Listen to this story on the RFI website.
AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 150 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.
Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.
AllAfrica is a voice of, by and about Africa - aggregating, producing and distributing 600 news and information items daily from over 150 African news organizations and our own reporters to an African and global public. We operate from Cape Town, Dakar, Abuja, Monrovia, Nairobi and Washington DC.