Shelling in Libyan capital despite ceasefire pleas to focus on coronavirus

File photo of Libyan fighters gather at Martyrs Square before being deployed to secure Tripoli, Libya. EPA/STR

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A prison in the Libyan capital Tripoli was shelled on Tuesday, injuring several people, its warden said, as a bombardment intensified despite pleas for a ceasefire to tackle the coronavirus.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar has been trying since last year to capture Tripoli, seat of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

The prison, in the Ain Zara district in southern Tripoli, is in an area held by pro-GNA forces, not far from a front line where a fighter with the GNA said intense clashes took place on Tuesday.

Heavy artillery was audible across Tripoli for much of Tuesday and into the evening, with the capital’s residents under a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


Libya confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus on Tuesday, with years of violence leaving its healthcare system highly vulnerable.

“This is a health system that was close to collapse before you get the coronavirus,” said Elizabeth Hoff, head of mission for the World Health Organization in Libya.

Equipment for testing is limited, there is very little protective gear and there is a severe shortage of medical workers, particularly in rural areas, Hoff said.

“There is a national plan, but funding has not yet been allocated for implementation,” she said.

The committee in charge of fighting the flu-like disease announced early on Wednesday a ban on movement between cities and areas until further notice.

Read more via Reuters

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