UN says 220 killed in two days of fighting over Libya’s capital
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UN says 220 killed in two days of fighting over Libya’s capital

Clashes threaten to ignite civil war on the scale of the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Gaddafi

Forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) gesture on April 18, 2019, after taking control of the area of al-Aziziyah, located some 40 kilometers south of the Libyan capital Tripoli, following fierce clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar (Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)
Forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) gesture on April 18, 2019, after taking control of the area of al-Aziziyah, located some 40 kilometers south of the Libyan capital Tripoli, following fierce clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar (Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

BENGHAZI, Libya — The UN health agency says at least 15 more people died in fighting over control of Libya’s capital in the past two days, bringing the total to 220 dead including civilians.

The World Health Organization said late Friday that 1,066 others have been wounded since the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive on April 5 to take Tripoli.

The fighting pits the LNA, led by Khalifa Hifter, against rival militias affiliated with a weak UN-supported government in the capital.

The clashes threaten to ignite civil war on the scale of the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Libya is split between rival governments in the east and west.

Libyan Gen. Khalifa Hifter addresses a press conference in Benghazi, Libya. May 17, 2014 (AP/Mohammed el-Shaiky)

US President Donald Trump phoned Hifter earlier this week, expressing support for the leader’s perceived stance against terrorism.

A statement said that Trump “recognized Field Marshal Hiftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources,” adding that “the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system.”

Forces loyal to Libya’s unity government said Saturday they have launched a counter-attack against Hiftar’s fighters just south of the capital Tripoli.

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