(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
20 fighters loyal to Khalifa Haftar were killed and 40 others wounded in a two day battle in Benghazi, according to a source from a local hospital.
For over two years, Haftar’s militia, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), have been attempting to take full control of Benghazi. The ongoing clashes in Libya’s second largest city are between the LNA and local brigades that oppose Haftar.
According to Fadel Al-Hassi, a spokesperson for the LNA, at least seven fighters from the opposition were killed in Guwarsha.
On Monday, Haftar’s forces carried out airstrikes in Guwarsha and Ganfouda, which still has a civilian population trapped inside.
Haftar has placed the civilian population of Ganfouda under siege for opposing him. The LNA’s ruthless blockade of Ganfouda is putting the safety of many families at risk in the Benghazi suburb since the siege began in July 2014.
On Saturday, a 6-year-old girl in Ganfouda was was hit by an airstrike carried out by the UAE. The UAE, who openly supports Haftar, used an Air-Tractor AT-802 to fire the airstrike, according to local news.
The airstrike hit Fathia’s home as she was folding her clothes in her bedroom.
“I heard the aircraft, I thought it will strike away from our house, but suddenly it struck ours. My father, my sister and her child were killed,” she said. “I have no clothes, I came here naked.”
Fathia lost her eyesight and suffered second-degree burns on her face from a fire that was caused by the explosion.
Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement regarding the civilians who have been trapped by the ongoing clashes.
“All sides to the conflict in Benghazi should allow all civilians to leave the Ganfouda neighbourhood, and allow for the safe passage of humanitarian aid into the neighbourhood,” said the HRW statement.
Amnesty International also spoke against the atrocities taking place in Ganfouda. Earlier this month Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, spoke about Ganfouda saying the civilians were in dire need of support.
“Time is running out for civilians in Ganfouda, who are being left to die trapped by the fighting. While bombs and shells continue to rain down on them, civilians are struggling to survive on rotten food and dirty water. And the sick and wounded must make do with dwindling supplies of expired medicines,” said Mughrabi.
“As the airstrikes intensify and the fighting moves ever closer, many people are too afraid to leave their homes,” said Mughrabi. “Those who wish to leave must be protected from any attacks based on where they are from or their perceived political affiliation.”