At least four civilians were killed when the Libyan National Army attacked the Libyan capital of Tripoli, resulting in a total of 180 fatalities. Of the civilians killed, most were women and an additional 17 were wounded.
The initial assault on the city, lasting two weeks and still ongoing, has left over 800 people wounded. The assault is being led by the head of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar.
Just before midnight, on Tuesday, April 16th, Haftar’s forces bombarded a densely-populated Tripoli suburb with 10 GRAD rockets. This was done in an attempt to take the capital from the United Nations-backed government. The bombs hit the residential districts of Abu Slim and Hay al-Andalus.
Fayez Al-Sarraj, Prime Minister of Libya, visited the sites Wednesday morning and stated that evidence of an attack deliberately aimed at a civilian population will be handed over to the International Criminal Court.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, stated that charges will be pressed against those responsible for the attack.
“I will not hesitate to expand my investigations and potential prosecutions to cover any new instances of crimes falling within the court’s jurisdiction,” said the chief prosecutor of the ICC.
She continued to state “I remind all parties that any person who incites or engages in such crimes including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing in any other manner to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the court is liable to prosecution,”
According to the spokesman of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Ahmed al Mesmari, the initial offensive on Tripoli led by Haftar has the goal of completely eliminating terrorist activity in Libya. However, the LNA denied responsibility for the attacks. Protests and demonstrations on the streets of Tripoli swiftly came together to blame Haftar’s forces.
“This battle comes within the framework of a comprehensive war on terrorism. In 2014, the decision was made to purge the country of terrorist organizations, gangs, and armed groups. The Government of National Accord (GNA) is now a completely paralyzed government whose decisions are now invalid,” said Mesmari.
The United Nations-backed government announced that they will launch a counter-offensive assault against Haftar’s forces in eastern Libya in an attempt to seize control of the city of Benghazi, a territory of the Libyan National Army. Commenting on the bombings, the government stated, “The indiscriminate attacks showed his [Haftar’s] forces lacked a shred of humanity.”
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