Libya fighting kills 56 amid Italian warnings | Eurasia Diary -

22 July, Monday

Libya fighting kills 56 amid Italian warnings

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Fighting between eastern Libyan forces and Tripoli government troops killed 56 people and forced 6,000 to flee their homes in the capital in the last week, the United Nations said yesterday, as France and Italy wrangled over how to respond to the renewed conflict.

After sweeping up from the south, the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of Khalifa Haftar have been blocked in the southern suburbs of Tripoli about 11km from the centre.

Gunfire and explosions were heard in downtown Tripoli as the LNA faced off with the forces of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj's government around the former international airport and the Ain Zara district.

Haftar's push for Tripoli is the latest in a cycle of violence and chaos in Libya since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

In Rome, Libya's former colonial ruler Italy warned France, which has close ties to Haftar and oil assets in eastern Libya, to refrain from supporting any faction after diplomats said Paris blocked an EU statement calling on him to halt his offensive.

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