(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Seven People Killed in Benghazi Shellings
At least seven people were killed and eight wounded after shellings that took place in residential areas on Thursday and Friday in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city.
On Saturday, an official from a hospital in Benghazi said the civilian casualties happened on the frontlines, where General Khalifa Haftar’s forces are battling with various Islamist groups, reported Reuters.
Since May 2014, Haftar has been conducting a campaign in the eastern city against Islamists and any other group he considers to be his opponent.
Operation Dignity has dragged on for over two years with no clear end, and there are reports that Haftar’s forces are losing ground in Benghazi.
Earlier this week, eight fighters from Haftar’s self proclaimed “Libyan National Army” were killed in clashes in the areas of Sabri and Souq al-Hout (whale market) in fights against their opponents.
Haftar’s military campaign to supposedly liberate Benghazi from the clutches of extremist groups continues to leave the city in chaos, as his militia often clash with local militants on the outskirts of the city.
The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) has attempted to take support away from Haftar by appointing eastern commander, Mahdi al-Barghathi, as Defense Minister, a move that angered the rogue general.
In addition, two key armed forces, the Special Anti-terrorist force, and the Military Intelligence Brigade, in eastern Libya announced last week that they supported the GNA.
The commanders of the both armed groups, who were once allied with General Khalifa Haftar, held a joint press conference with Defense Minister Mahdi al-Barghathi to announce the decision.
Attacks on residential areas in Benghazi intensified during the past few weeks, including several mortar attacks on the Benghazi Medical Centre, the city’s largest medical facility.
UN envoy Martin Kobler called for a ceasefire in Benghazi and warned that any attacks committing by the various militias currently fighting in Benghazi which targeted civilians could amount to war crimes.
Kobler expressed his concern about the “repeated violations of international humanitarian law, some of which may amount to war crimes, which are recurring in Benghazi. Recent weeks in particular have witnessed the shelling of residential areas with civilians killed in the streets and a hospital being hit.”