from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – EIGHT months after the battle for the control of the capital city, Tripoli, Libya’s warring forces are now engaged in another explosive war for the jurisdiction of the third largest city.
This follows the rebel Libya National Army (LNA) launching attacks by warplanes on military bases in the northwestern city of Misrata, months after a similar onslaught on Tripoli.
The latest conflict exposes the involvement of foreign countries in the destabilisation of the oil-rich North African nation that plummeted into chaos in 2011 after the overthrow and ensuing murder of former president Muammar Gaddafi.
United States’ (US’) Department of State has disclosed the internationally-endorsed Government of National Accord had requested for its military support.
It also raised concern at the LNA’s threat to use foreign-supplied air assets and mercenaries to attack Misrata.
“External military intervention threatens prospects for resolving the conflict,” said Morgan Ortagus, US Department of State spokesperson.
He deplored attacks on civilians and called on all sides to refrain from escalation.
Ortagus restated the US’ preparedness to work with the United Nations (UN) and the warring parties to initiate political negotiations.
In April, forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, the LNA commander, launched a military campaign to capture Tripoli.
The offensive has failed but more than 1 000 people have been killed and over 5 000 injured.
An earlier battle for Misrata was one of the longest and bloodiest tussles of the 2011 Libyan civil war.
Misrata is behind Tripoli and Benghazi in terms of size.
– CAJ News