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Battle for Libyan City of Derna, Where 125,000 People Face ‘Unprecedented Levels of Violence’

3 2 9
14.06.2018

One of Libya’s many private armies is advancing into the long besieged coastal city of Derna, between Benghazi and the Egyptian border, as violence reaches unprecedented levels, according to the UN.

Heavy ground fighting and widespread destruction of houses by airstrikes and shelling is exacerbating severe shortages of water, food, medicine and electricity.

The assault on Derna, which has a population of 125,000, by the forces of renegade General Khalifa Haftar, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), is the latest episode in the internecine warfare which has torn Libya apart since the NATO-backed overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

A spokesman for the LNA said on Tuesday that their forces had captured 75 per cent of Derna city.

Gen Haftar is one of the most powerful of the many players in Libya, controlling most of the east of the country after capturing Benghazi last year. With two different governments based respectively in Tripoli and Tobruk, each with shaky authority, it is unlikely that any single actor in Libya can win a decisive victory.

Residents of Derna say that LNA fighters are arresting local people in their houses and at checkpoints. Photographs show military vehicles advancing through empty streets past burned out........

© CounterPunch