Libya’s east-based forces hit Tripoli civilian area, four dead

CAIRO (AP) – Libya’s east-based military forces fired into residential neighbourhoods of the country’s besieged capital with heavy weapons, killing four civilians on Friday, including an elderly man and a teenager, according to Tripoli health officials.

“The humanitarian situation is catastrophic, terrifying, really,” said health ministry official Amin al-Hashemi.

Despite appeals for a freeze in the fighting so that authorities can confront the coronavirus pandemic, “the shelling has not stopped for hours, it is only increasing,” he said.

On Friday, artillery rounds crashed into houses across from the prominent Royal Health Clinic in southern Tripoli, killing a 16-year-old boy and wounding his mother and two younger brothers, aged 12 and eight, said health ministry spokesman Malek Merset. In the Souk al-Juma neighbourhood of Tripoli, one man was killed when a Grad rocket struck his home, and four others wounded, including a woman, he added.

In a western Tripoli neighbourhood, a 70-year-old man was killed and four members of the same family wounded when shells hit grocery stores and the surrounding homes, said al-Hashemi. A shelter for civilians who fled fighting in other parts of the city also came under fire, killing one 40-year-old man and wounding two policemen.